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Are You Growing Up?

Reprinted from ReadyAimLife

by The Howitzer

When I was in the 6th grade, I was 5’2” tall and weighed 106 pounds.  I remember that because we had to take a presidential standardized fitness test and had to be measured.  By the time 8th grade came around I was 5’11’ tall and weighed almost 150 pounds.   I grew so fast that my knees had a hard time keeping with the growth spurt and had to be monitored by a doctor. As a result, I didn’t get to participate in several athletic events that I wanted to.  No big deal, just the natural outcome of rapid growth.

Growth in our faith occurs in spurts as well.  In fact some say that we have definite stages by which we can measure our growth.  The apostle John was one of those experts.  In 1 John 2:12-14, he defines three distinct stages.

12 I write to you, dear children,

because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name.

13 I write to you, fathers,

because you have known him who is from the beginning.

I write to you, young men,

because you have overcome the evil one.

I write to you, dear children,

because you have known the Father.

14 I write to you, fathers,

because you have known him who is from the beginning.

I write to you, young men,

because you are strong,

and the word of God lives in you,

and you have overcome the evil one. [1]

1st Stage- Little Children.  Note that growth in the stage is defined by understanding that they are forgiven and that they know the Father (i.e. intimate knowledge of their benevolent loving Daddy).  Not much different than how small kids are these days.  The biggest thing that children need is a safe, secure, nurturing environment where they can grow in their understanding of the world under the protective wings of their parents.

2nd  Stage- Young Men.  Like a teenager trying to spread his/her wings, so is the young spiritual man who is in a real battle with the evil one.  The devil seeks to destroy the person of faith, but the young buck is battling him.  It is interesting that the young man is described as strong and has the word of God living in him.  And he is also said to have over come the evil one (past tense).  He seems to have graduated in his education of sanctification, or is at least making significant progress.

3rd Stage- Fathers.  The last phase is characterized by knowledge of God.  The maturing Father has through the school of hard knocks come to an experiential knowledge of God and His ways.  He has aged not only in years but also in understanding of how things work.  Most people call that wisdom.  But I think it significant that just as many an older person begins to revert to a 2nd childhood (just ask any child of aging parents), so the spiritual father returns to the most significant growth spurt they have known: knowledge of God’s love and forgiveness.  Solomon, after all his experimentation  concluded that when all has been heard, we should fear God and keep His commandments.

I don’t know where you are in your maturing process, but if you (and I) are not making progress in our spiritual lives then we are not moving in the right direction.  Little Children focus on God’s love and forgiveness.  Young men keep fighting the good fight.  Fathers, drink deeply at the well of Him who has been from the beginning.  Learn from Him. Draw near to Him. Grow up in terms of your salvation.  There is nothing worse than someone who won’t act his or her age.

Photo by hoyasmeg

[1]The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.) (1 Jn 2:12). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

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