Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Growing in Grace

Many of us have retained the same images and beliefs about God we held in childhood without much, if any, variations to those first convictions. We are also unable to verbalize our beliefs using words much different from when we were nine or ten years old. Now I'm the first to acknowledge that a childlike faith is indeed a blessing, but as adults if we don't recognize that same faith with an adult understanding of its simplicity we become easy marks for those whose aim it is to shake us loose from it. There isn't a lot to like about anything half baked, including faith.

I firmly believe that children have the ability to recognize Jesus a lot easier than adults because they can identify (or sense) real love. Whereas adults have been jaded by all the negative experiences of falling in and out of love which causes them to tread lightly... children just gravitate to the real thing. They may not be able to describe, but they know it. If we have not developed a maturing relationship with Jesus beyond those early encounters we, as adults, live as if Jesus fell out of love with us because we have with Him. Therein lies our vulnerability, and our disconnect between God's love and our ability to love. His is unconditional... sadly, often times ours is not.

You've heard that if you don't stand for something you will fall for anything. That's so true!!! ... and because we have been beaten up for so long for having convictions we have become quiet..... and where has that left the society we live in? If you don't know why you believe what you believe you are just one conversation away (not even a debate) from either being conflicted or worse, off track. Then without a foundation a person can wander in their own wilderness for years and maybe even till death. It is in these environs many of us find ourselves now. All this and more because we have not grown to understand what we first learned as children. Maybe its like having to learn the multiplication tables in elementary school..... we didn't comprehend why that was important then but we surely
know the value of understanding their usefulness now.

What have we lost? Are we lost? Do we care if we're lost? I'll take a shot at that last question.....if you're reading this I'm guessing that you do.... care that is. If I'm correct about that and you've been doing that "wandering in the wilderness"-thing for some time now,,,, you must for your own peace of mind resolve that by coming to an understanding of why you believe what you believe. The old hymn with the lyrics "faith of our fathers" is of no redeeming value if it isn't your own. Remember we cannot be saved because a parent/grandparent was a good Christian. Do you know why you believe what you believe? what is the source of that belief? Was it from all those Sunday lessons when you were a child? Perhaps you got it right then (and I'm betting you did) but as an adult your faith hasn't
matured with your years. Faith that is not growing is dwindling.

Be careful..... there are alot of people from so many faiths and persuasions that will try to answer for you, but when we all (each of us) stand before the Father and the Son, only our answer to the question "Why should I let you into my heaven" is the one that will count.

May I suggest the late Dr. Ray C. Stedman's look at Christian maturity in 1 John 2:12-14, Growing in Grace, and The Maturing Process.

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