I pastor a small local church in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. It’s a relaxed kind of church where you’re warmly welcomed and then offered a delicious fresh brewed cup of premium coffee or tea. Seating is relaxed as well, sit where you want and if you are a parent with small kids, we have a special place for you. Round tables are spread across the back of our auditorium laden with colouring books, pencil crayons, crayons, Kleenex tissues, etc. These specially marked tables are designed for families with kids and all the baggage that goes with taking your kids anywhere, stroller, diaper bags, toy bags, snack bags, etc.
Each Sunday, while the band plays songs and the gathered church sings and worships along, the kids are running around like crazy. They are rolling around together, wrestling, tripping, spilling drinks and crackers, bumping their heads on the table edge, or standing and staring at all the other crazy kids. When a song has an extra ‘kick’ to it, some kids hold hands and dance around to the music. Adults who want a refill on their coffee need to tread carefully as they navigate through the maze of little ones at the back.
One of my favourite things to do while all this chaos is going on, is to entertain and confuse the kids. I have this laser pointer in my hand that is mostly used for advancing the power point slides while I’m teaching or sharing. Standing at the back while the chaos is going on, I point the laser pointer light in front of a child or two, just enough to get their attention. They have no idea where it is coming from, they think it is only right there in front of them. First they stare at it, then look at mom or dad and point to the little green lit up dot. An sure enough, every single time they will try and reach down and touch it with their finger or stomp on it with their foot. I’m too fast for them, I move the light and make them chase it. You guessed it, just like getting a cat to chase a laser pointer, it works just as brilliantly on small children. The kids are so easily distracted and are so much fun to watch.
Parents smile, and kids who have figured it out laugh and play along. The beauty of this game is that the children are acting just like children. There is no expectation from any parent that their little child should be acting any differently. If however, the child grows up and becomes a teenager, if that teenager begins to act like a little child again that’s a sign of a big problem.
Children are to grow up. Teens and young adults are to grow up. Everything that is alive is to grow and mature. If it doesn’t, that’s evidence that ‘something is wrong’. In the same way, you and I are to grow up into the fullness of Christ, to move on from childish beliefs and behaviours. Take a look at what the apostle Paul said:
Ephesians 4:14-15 (NLT) 14 Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. 15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.
How are we supposed to grow up? Tomorrow I will share some thoughts on what a ‘child’ looks like and how to if you are not growing up. For now, read the verse above and the one below carefully and meditate on what it is saying to your soul.
QUESTIONS FOR THE DAY
- Have you ever seen a parent punish their child for having a poopy diaper? Why not?
- Why then do some people think that God is angry with his children when they are acting like children? (*the point is, he is not angry with them at all)
- How do you think God is responding to his children?
- If you had to make a list of things that define what a ‘child believer’ is, what would it be?
- Do you want to grow up?
VERSE FOR THE DAY
Ephesians 4:14-16The Message (MSG)
14-16 No prolonged infancies among us, please. We’ll not tolerate babes in the woods, small children who are an easy mark for impostors. God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love—like Christ in everything. We take our lead from Christ, who is the source of everything we do. He keeps us in step with each other. His very breath and blood flow through us, nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, robust in love.
VIDEO FOR THE DAY
“Your Grace Finds Me” Matt Redman https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=orY_OWKTyfU
Heavenly Father, thank you for your great grace. Today show me that I am your child and that I am loved, valued and accepted. Show me today, how you want me to grow up. Teach me to hear your voice speak to me, so that I may follow your direction and passions. Create a hunger in me for more, to experience your love and passion more and more in my life.