Having two toddlers in our home makes for busy days full of laughter, imaginary friends and pets, picky eating, and TANTRUMS! Our almost-two-year old, Samuel, has two favourite words: “mine,” and “no.” He is exerting his independence and the battle for control is raging. Many times, he sits down and looks the other way when given a direction he doesn’t want to take. I can beg, coax, bribe, demand all I want, but he is not cooperating. He may kick and scream as I practically drag him where I want him to go. Although this behaviour is quite annoying and tests my patience and every other fruit of the spirit when it happens, it’s all a part of growing up. Sam is still young. He drinks milk with every meal. He takes a dummy (pacifier for my American readers) to soothe himself to sleep.
Sam doesn’t have enough experience yet to understand consequences for his behavior, although he is learning. He doesn’t have enough maturity to know everything isn’t all about him and that he doesn’t get whatever he wants on demand. In time, my expectation as a mother is that he WILL get control of his emotions; he WILL obey me when I ask him to do something; he WILL share and cooperate with his siblings even when he doesn’t like it.
As a Christian, it’s important that we grow up in our faith. In the church, childish behaviour can be quite prevalent if we allow it. We fall into the trap of “consumerism Christianity” where we go to church to be entertained; we judge everything according to our likes and dislikes: how loud is the music? How much fun did our kids have in service? We join a small group so we can socialize with other “believers” and we only like sermons that make us feel good. We take what we feel we deserve to get from it, never realizing our part to play. Then, if we aren’t satisfied with something… if the pastor offends us… if we are being challenged to grow up, we quit. We quit on church, or even worse, we quit on God.
That’s like a tantrum.
Like Saul just before his radical conversion, Jesus is telling us not to “kick against the goads.” If we realize we have a greater purpose than ourselves, we might understand he has a job for us. Jesus has handpicked us to be servants and witnesses to what’s happened in our lives (Acts 26:16). In other words, “IT’S NOT ABOUT ME!”
How many times does God have to say it to get our attention? Let us not be like Samuel, needing Mum to go over the basics again and again. The writer of Hebrews says that we keep needing baby’s milk when we should have been on solid food long ago. “Milk is for beginners, inexperienced in God’s ways; solid food is for the mature, who have some practice in telling right from wrong.” This was written to Hebrew Christians who were struggling embracing their faith in Christ, leaning back to their Jewish roots. They needed encouragement on the implications of following him and growing up in their faith.
A milk based Christian diet is BORING and BLAND! God wants each of us to go deeper than where we are currently with him. He wants our witness to bear some fruit that has eternal impact and our life to be devoted to him. Unlike me in my parenting, however, God doesn’t drag us where he wants us to go. He allows us the choice to either stay where we are or to mature into all that he has planned for us.
God doesn’t want us to re-live one year’s lessons over and over so that we find ourselves the same person in a decade, just 10 years older.
Let us not spend our lives missing the point of our salvation. Simply ticking the box to get into heaven isn’t enough for mature Christian living. Let’s look beyond ourselves and serve others. Learn to give and take in our marriages. Gain a deeper understanding of His word; experience closer intimacy with him.
When we walk with God keeping eternity in mind, we actually lead the way for others to know Him. No one would model their lives after a two year old nor would they let Sam lead the way or give advice on any topic. Let us not have the same reputation and
Grow Up Together.