Wednesdays with Jillene: when it’s time to grow

 

Honestly, I wish I had video of what happened this afternoon since it was a perfect mix of adorable and funny. After lunch Calah and I went outside to play in the snow. After clearing icy build up from the porch I walked down the stairs, over the log and across the lawn. I turned around and asked Calah to follow me. Then the adorable-ness happened as she approached the log.

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The log that I had barely noticed stopped Calah in her tracks.

She looked at it and then she looked at me. Cue the adorable-funny moment…

Calah lay stomach to the ground and slid backwards, feet first over the log. Standing up on the other side she turned back to the log and, while brushing herself off, gave it it smile and a nod.

(The “reenactment” wasn’t as good but I will include a few pics since she is cute.)

There was a lot of back and forth across the log as she followed me this afternoon. At one point I offered her my hand to show her an easier way over and help her along.

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With a little bit of help she was much happier and able to navigate the log faster too.

Over the years I’ve watched as my children have encountered the various stages of child development from birth to teenage years. It is true that each child is different just as each stage of development is different. Sometimes my children initiate the process of maturing, others encounter an obstacle and need/want help to grow, and sometimes they fight against moving on in life.

In 1 Corinthians 3, Paul addresses the growth in spiritual maturity of the Corinthian church, or more accurately- the lack thereof.

And so, brothers and sisters, I could not speak to you as spiritual people, but rather as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for solid food. Even now you are still not ready

It seems the Corinthians were not maturing spiritually. Paul compares spiritual growth to the maturity of a baby moving from milk to solid food. The Corinthians were still on milk. When it comes to the physical developmental milestone of moving to solid food there are many theories and practices on when and how to introduce solid food and children develop at differing rates. But there comes a time when solid food is the main source of sustenance for a infant/toddler. For the Corinthian’s spiritual development they had not moved past the basics… they were stuck.

Paul gives reason for their stunted spiritual growth in verse 3 “for you are still of the flesh. For as long as there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not of the flesh, and behaving according to human inclinations?”

The writer of Hebrews similarly notes,

12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

Spiritual growth should be a process of growth and development just as we grow physically, emotionally and mentally. And just as those processes take work and obstacles can be encountered, so too does our spiritual development progress.

While I am sure “spiritual growth charts” do exist, they aren’t as commonly accepted as physical, emotional and developmental progression standards. Yet, when we look into our spiritual development, what do we see? Is our walk with God deepening? It the work of the Holy Spirit in sanctification evident? Do we find a hunger for the things of God? Or are we stuck at the beginning?

The Corinthians were stuck in “spiritual infancy” and Paul knew the cause, he knew what had stopped them from developing: jealousy and quarreling.

When you look at your spiritual life, what is in your way?

Who is there to speak truth into your stuck places?

There are times as my children grow when my role is to help them overcome the obstacles that prevent growth. And there are times when I have to help my children realize they aren’t ready for the next step… that they need to back up and wait or build up the skills needed to mature. Paul saw that in the Corinthian church and named their obstacles holding them accountable. The writer of Hebrews was honest in the assessment that foundational steps were still needed before maturity could occur.

Who is there to help you spiritually? Is there anyone speaking truth into the stuck, weak, immature places of your life? Do you listen?

If you feel there isn’t anyone doing that for you now, how can you find someone to walk the journey of life with you and help you along the way?

Conversely, who has God placed in your life for you to help grow? We aren’t in life alone. While it can be easy to think, “People will grow spiritually on their own/with God’s help”… We can look at people whose spiritual growth has become stagnant and think, “Everyone develops at their own pace, they’ll get there eventually”… Facing our own circumstances we can give into thinking, “I’m no expert and I still struggle with things. I’m in no position to help”…

But God has not placed us on this earth to journey in life and spiritual growth alone. The problem the Corinthians faced wasn’t just a personal problem but corporate. 1 Corinthians 12 says that together we form the Body of Christ and when “one part suffers, every part suffers with it.”

Addressing what keeps you from growing is a necessary step for your personal spiritual journey with God and for the benefit and growth of the greater body of Christ. Choose to walk with others through the obstacles, stretching moments and the maturing process for the same reason.

11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

Ephesians 4:11-16

Where in this is God speaking to your life today?

~Jillene

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