I went on a shopping trip to restock my girls’ winter clothes for the remainder of this season and for next winter. I like going this late in the season because all of the clothes are on clearance as the stores make room for the spring fashions.
Each of my daughters wore a new dress to church this past Sunday. As we were getting ready to leave, I watched my five year old dance around the bathroom in her new outfit. The sleeves were a little long and the skirt sagged a little around the waist as she didn’t quite fill it out. Even the socks were too big – I noticed the pink heel of the brown sock was up on her leg instead of wrapped snuggly around her little heel.
As I watched her spin towards the sink so she could brush her hair, I thought, “It won’t be long before those sleeves won’t even reach her wrist and that heel will be stretching just to make it to its correct spot.” Years of parenting has taught me that clothes which are too big today will fit tomorrow and be outgrown by the next day.
My next thought was “Isn’t that what God wants from each of His children?”
My daughters’ childhoods are passing by quickly but I would never wish for them to stay newborn, five years old, or teenagers forever. Since I learned of my first pregnancy, my prayer for each of them has been to grow into women who love and serve God. Likewise, God doesn’t want us to stay spiritual newborns forever. He wants us to grow!
Regardless of their biological age, people are spiritual newborns when they first choose to follow Jesus. Just like a baby, they need to be fed so they can grow. Watching a new Christian learn the truths of God’s Word is encouraging, comforting, and refreshing to the older Christian, just like watching a new baby suck contentedly on a bottle of milk.
“Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good” (1 Peter 2:2-3).
However, we wouldn’t have the same reaction to a five year old or teenager that still sucked contentedly on a bottle of milk. We desire to see the five year old devour mac & cheese while the teenager takes a huge bite of cheeseburger. They need real food for their growing bodies. God wants the same spiritual growth in each of us.
“We have much to say about this [referring to the eternal priesthood of Christ], but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. 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!
Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
Therefore, let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity…” (Hebrews 5:11-6:1).