How Old Are You?
You might be younger than you think!
The Cry of My Heart!
Dear God. Make Me Older. Amen
Ah, I remember praying that prayer as a little girl. Don’t you? Maybe not in those exact words but that certainly was the cry of my heart. I couldn’t wait to see over the top of my dresser, wear nylons (what was I thinking?), and get to that next birthday only to rush to the next one with half birthdays – 5 1/2, 10 1/2. I remember staring intently into the mirror and wishing myself to be just a little older. Praying myself to be just a little older. Now I stare intently into the mirror and just say, “Dear God!” Make me older? Not so much.
It’s Time to Grow Up!
And then I read this… Ephesians 4 tells us that God has given us spiritual gifts. Not so that we could “shake it off” like Taylor Swift. Not so we can share a message like Billy Graham. Not so we can impress our friends and neighbors and say, “Look at me.” No, He gave us gifts so that we can help each other grow up.
Grow up? I’ve been 39 years old for over a decade already! I may be grown up on the outside, but what about the inside? Christianity is an inside out job. Ephesians 4:13 tells us we’re to become perfect. Wait a second, what happened to that verse about “progress, not perfection.” Yeah, that’s not in the bible.
The word “perfect comes from the Greek word teleios. It means to mature, to become an adult, to become full-grown. The Message translation puts it this way, “No prolonged infancies among us, please!” 1 John 2:12-14 describes levels of spiritual maturity – babies, young men, and fathers. Thanks to modern medicine, we could live to be 100 but never grow past our first spiritual birthday. It’s cute when a baby wears her birthday cake on her first birthday. I think we can all agree it wouldn’t be cute at all if you or I did.
The Church of Low Sodium
The church just seems to be less salty than it once was. I used to think it’s because we’re a lot like the lukewarm church of Laodicea described in the book of Revelation. But now I’m starting to think a lot of our issues actually stem from chronic stunted growth. Think about it.
Growth takes work, a lot of work. It doesn’t just happen. Who in the church represents the Memaw’s and the Papa’s you point your finger toward and say from a spiritual perspective, “That’s who I want to be like when I grow up?” Thankfully, most of know a few. But we need a lot more. The church today is full of reduced sodium role models. We’re in trouble when we have more examples of people we don’t want to become than people we do want to become.
In order to grow, we’re told we need to get up earlier to read and pray. We need to spend less time watching television and more time serving in our churches and communities. We need to make ourselves vulnerable and accountable to someone older in the faith. We need to be discipled. We need to disciple.
You want me to do all of these things so that I can be like the guy who is one way at church and another way Monday through Saturday? Or the woman who loves to “share” prayer requests a.k.a. gossip? Or, the angry, self-righteous guy that sounds all too much like a noisy clanging cymbal? Or, the woman who wants to be in control instead of leaning on and trusting in God? Or the person whose first reaction is fear and panic instead of living in calm assurance that our sovereign God has it all figured out? And therein lies the problem, babies raising babies.
The immature response would be for me to let my mind wander to those people I rub shoulders with everyday that need to grow up. Instead, I think I’ll seize this moment to get a little introspective. I need to deny self. I need to put away childish things. I need to remember that it’s not all about me. I need to be less selfish, less guarded, less sensitive. I need to learn to respond instead of react. I need to stop comparing and learn to be content. I need to bite my tongue and show self-control. I need to lay my life down for others like Christ did for me. I need to demonstrate more agape love. If I’m honest, I’m a lot younger than I I’d like to admit! There’s something I never thought I’d say. The truth is, I need to grow up in a lot of areas.
I Need To Pray!
Abba Father, how old am I in your eyes? How do I need to grow up to become the salt and light you created me to be? God I’m ready to do what I need to do to mature in you. I’m ready to accept what you allow in my life to help me become more like you and the Memaw’s and Papa’s you’ve placed in my life as examples of spiritual maturity. I’m ready to become a student of the word and a doer. I’m ready to grow up and I need your help. Give me a thirst for your word. Help me to apply it in life’s lab- at home, at work, on the road, in my community. Here I am Lord, your servant is listening.
Age Is Just A Number
From a biblical perspective, age truly is just a number. There are 75-year-old infants sitting on church pews. And there are 25-year-old full-grown fathers sitting on church pews. How old are you in God years? How old am I?
Tippy Toe Prayer
Now with that perspective, I’m ready to stand on my tippy toes and prayer this prayer with all my heart…
Dear God, make me older. Amen.
Spiritual maturity. That’s where the joy is! Want to go deeper on this topic? Download the study guide and go through it with some friends.
And don’t forget to share the joy!