Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Toys-R-Us Christians

My friends, stop thinking like children. Think like mature people and be as innocent as tiny babies. - 1 Corinthians 14:20 (CEV)

Remember the old Toys-R-Us jingle? "I don't wanna grow up. I wanna be a Toys-R-Us kid".

With 2 toddler grandchildren I'm constantly reminded of the wants and needs of little ones.
  • You don't dare leave them alone for fear of their safety. They don't have the wisdom or discernment about potential dangers yet.
  • They want what they want, they want it now and nothing else in their world or yours matters until they get it. Little children are driven by their own wants (not so much their needs) and have no clue of priorities.
  • If someone else has it, they want it. Their world revolves around them.
  • They expect to be served. The concept of serving others comes with maturity.
  • They don't always get it right or finish what they start. My youngest (22 months) will start counting to ten and decide to skip "7,8,9" and jump from 6 to 10. Then with excitement she applauds herself.
  • Attention span? Forget about it.
None of those are abnormal for little ones. But eventually, if their growth is normal, they will mature beyond those characteristics. With nurturing and discipline and love they get to the place where they learn to eat with a fork, share a toy, say "Please" and "Thank you" and see a project through to completion. That's normal.

When we begin as children of God with a new birth we are babes. Paul writes about it. So do Peter and John in their letters. But they make it very clear that for a Christian to remain in spiritual immaturity is abnormal. God's plan for each believer is to grow up. What does that look like? Here are a few signs of growing up:
  • An attitude of gratitude toward God and those who have helped them mature.
  • Finding ways to serve His body in ministry.
  • Becoming a contributor not a consumer in the church.
  • Looking out for ways to meet others needs and not demanding their own wants be met.
  • Faithfulness at things like communion, giving, sharing their faith, time in the Word, worship and serving.
  • Putting away old habits and practices and adopting new ones that reflect Christ's work in his/her life.
  • Not quitting or walking away because you don't get your way.
  • Being able to search the Scriptures independently rather than demanding to be fed.
  • Seeking the truth rather than accepting gossip or making assumptions that are unfounded.
  • Adopting an "It's not about me" lifestyle.
I've found it's fun to watch little ones who are little ones act like little ones. Sure, it is often messy, but it's just a stage. However, it is no fun to watch someone who should be advancing cling to their security blanket or pacifier and throw temper tantrums when they should be past all that.

God wants us to grow and mature spiritually. It's part of the salvation process we know as "sanctification". His desire is to complete in us what He started, taking us from infancy to responsible adult. Paul's words in Philippians 2:1-16 say it so well. (Click on the link to read it now.)

Today is never too late to start putting the toys away.

1 comment:

Brenda said...

Preach on, brother. We all need to read and apply this post. How about a mini-series on Phil. 2:1-16? This sanctification process seems to be filled with ups and downs, at least for me. But we should be trending upward over time. The key is having the "same attitude as Christ", a worthy goal for us all. Thanks for the reminder.