Growing Up From Flower Girl to Bride
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When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.  1 Corinthians 13:11

Many of us became Christians for childish reasons. We just wanted to go to heaven. That is okay. Jesus tells us to come as children, but He does not tell us to stay like children. “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we [henceforth] be no more children…” Ephesians 4:13-14

In 1 Corinthians 13:1-13, the love chapter, Paul tells us that, regarding love, he used to think like a child. Children obey when there is a reward involved. But as Paul grew and became a man, he put those childish motivations away, and his love developed into a mature, agape love. Immature Christians may offer their body to be burned or martyred for the reward involved, but a mature agape Christian will do it purely out of love. A mature agape Christian loves and obeys because Christ first loved us.

“It is not the fear of punishment, or the hope of everlasting reward, that leads the disciples of Christ to follow Him. They behold the Saviour’s matchless love, revealed throughout His pilgrimage on earth, from the manger of Bethlehem to Calvary’s cross, and the sight of Him attracts, it softens and subdues the soul. Love awakens in the heart of the beholders. They hear His voice, and they follow Him.” (Ellen White, Desire of Ages, p. 480)

In the church today, some people will say they are not worried about a certain standard because it is not a “salvation issue.” That may be so, but wouldn’t we be selfish and un-Christian to concern ourselves only with things that relate to our own personal salvation? What about  concerning ourselves with glorifying God, rather than just our own salvation?

In Exodus 32:1-10, the children of Israel worship a golden calf, and God threatens to wipe them out and to raise up a people named after Moses. However, Moses intercedes and tells God if He does this, it will give Him a bad name. “Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, ‘For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth?’” Exodus 32:12 Moses even goes so far as to say, “Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin – and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.” Exodus 32:32 Moses is more interested in honoring God’s reputation than he is in his own salvation! Moses has grown up from “salvation issues” to “glorifying God issues.”

Revelation 15:2-4 speaks of an entire multitude in the last days who “sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb.” Many songs are about stories or experiences. What experience do Moses and the Lamb have in common? Like Moses, Jesus the Lamb was willing to say goodbye to life forever if that’s what it took to honor the Father. “The Saviour could not see through the portals of the tomb.” (Ellen White, Desire of Ages, p. 753) In Revelation 15 an entire multitude have matured from thinking only of their own personal salvation issues, to glorifying God issues. Glorifying God is more important to them than their own salvation.

A flower girl comes to a wedding all prepared and ready. She is prepared and ready for the cake and punch that comes after the service. The bride has made herself ready, not for the cake and punch, but for the groom.

We may come to Jesus like a flower girl all excited about the cake and punch, golden streets and mansions, but let’s grow up into a bride who cares about the Groom. We love Jesus not for the cake and punch, golden streets and mansion. We love Him because He first loved us.

 

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Growing Up From Flower Girl to Bride — 18 Comments

  1. Thank you William for writing this. I enjoy reading your posts. I have found myself transitioning to becoming a more mature and selfless Christian after i have received an answer to my prayers and seeing God work in my life.

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  2. I love the comparison you used about reward vs. wanting to do God's will. And I really did not understand that passage about Moses til now... how much he was willing to sacrifice. Thanks for an inspired meditation!

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  3. Matthew 19 is an interesting chapter in light of your article. We have in 13-15

    The Little Children and Jesus

    13 Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them.

    14 Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” 15 When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.

    .. and then further down Peter asks a "childish" question:

    27 Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?”

    28 Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife[e] or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.

    It's interesting that Jesus did not rebuke Peter for asking such a question but actually answers him about the "cake and punch." :)

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  4. Thank you all for participating in our discussion. Thank you Ray for including the story of the rich youn ruler. When Jesus told him to follow me, He was telling him he wanted a relationship with him, and not just for him to do some "good thing." The ruler goes away because he did not want a relationship with God. He only wanted to do a good deed to get to live forever. Then, as you quoted, Peter turns around and basically says the same thing the ruler said. Peter's question probably grieved Jesus even more. After walking with the Son of God for 3 years, what more could you want? I am so glad Jesus takes us where we are!

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  5. Prayer Request:

    In January I will be 50, and no body realy cares abuot my age but me. All my life I have wondered if I would marry, not just for the cake and puch but, for the sack of Christian family fellowship and belonging. What happen to family, no body realy cares any more, love is not uncondition, out side the love of God. While there will not be marrage or the giving of marrage in Heaven we are not in Heaven yet and we must live on the dependents of God and human fellowship will we are done here. Ms. CeCe is right, there was a time when life was easyer, you did or you did not, you could or you could not, but without the fellowship of family the morals of life seem to be in vain. Though it does not pay to live in the past, it is history or our past that set the stage for future living, and the roots living can only be find belonging to some one or something. When did being humen mean that people who wont to be married are being self centered, if needing to be long is human. Thank God for the family of God, in it we call each other brother and sister, while we long be whole Christians and whole persons rightly divided in the word of God, by faith hoping to make it to Heavenly. Lord all I ever wanted was to keep my family connection so that I could grew up an marry, and give back to my family, my church,and my community what they gave to me. May be some things are not made to be, but if I never marry I hope I make it to Heaven the place that marrage is not needed, for I wish I did not have to be single down here, for there just does not seem to be a need for family down here on Earth any more. How sad, and how I wish the Lord would answer my prayer. Amen!

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    • William is right. You have a family in the church. I know how you feel though. Having a family and marriage is not always the answer to our needs. A person can have a family and be married and not be close emotionally so there can be an emptyness that only God can fill.

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  6. Chafes, we are all praying for you and you do have a family of God who are real and care about you from all over the world. Thank you for being a part of our family. I know God will meet all your needs.

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  7. Thank you very much William for this wonderful article. It really elevated my soul and heart to love the Lord with all my heart, which is surely should be the main motive for us to go to Jesus "love Him". Thank you and may God bless you more with the knowledge and the wisdom to dissect God's Word with true love and wisdom so more and more souls turn to Jesus because of Love but not because of other childish motivations.

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  8. I was born in a Christian (Adventist) family and I have always been in the Lord's house, baptized at twelve, serving God in all local church's leadership, But never with this insight up to forty four William. May God bless you. I thought I am a matured Christian but I find to be a child. In the middle ages known in history as the dark ages the people of God suffered martyrdom not because of the reward of eternal life alone but because they wanted the light of God (the Bible) not to diminish or be extinguished for they knew that without that, the future generations would be left in darkness.

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  9. William, as always, your posts put Christianity into extreme focus. :) thanks a lot for that! :D I always love reading what you write :)

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  10. Thank you William. I love reading your post. "It is not the fear of punishment or the hope of everlasting reward that leads the disciples of Christ to follow Him but the love they had in glorifying Him (God)".

    How can I glorify God without ever thinking of the reward (Salvation). Please help me.

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    • Hi Priscy,

      Thank you for your comment and good question. According to Genesis 15:1 God Himself is our salvation and reward. The reward is an eternal relationship with Him. When we see Christ on the cross willing to say goodbye to life forever in order to save us, it makes us fall in love with Him and nothing else matters but expressing our love for the One who expressed His love for us.

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  11. I feel Christ is really almighty, but I still struggling with my flesh through losing my capability of self-control.

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    • Hi Huangtila,

      All of us can relate to this struggle. Your SSNET family will be praying for you. Jesus promises us victory!

      "Many are inquiring, "How am I to make the surrender of myself to God?" You desire to give yourself to Him, but you are weak in moral power, in slavery to doubt, and controlled by the habits of your life of sin. Your promises and resolutions are like ropes of sand. You cannot control your thoughts, your impulses, your affections. The knowledge of your broken promises and forfeited pledges weakens your confidence in your own sincerity, and causes you to feel that God cannot accept you; but you need not despair. What you need to understand is the true force of the will. This is the governing power in the nature of man, the power of decision, or of choice. Everything depends on the right action of the will. The power of choice God has given to men; it is theirs to exercise. You cannot change your heart, you cannot of yourself give to God its affections; but you can choose to serve Him. You can give Him your will; He will then work in you to will and to do according to His good pleasure. Thus your whole nature will be brought under the control of the Spirit of Christ; your affections will be centered upon Him, your thoughts will be in harmony with Him." Steps to Christ, Page 47 (https://egwwritings.org/?ref=en_SC.47.1)

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  12. Thanx Bill great read so inspired-- this clearly puts in perspective the relation of our works to our salvation ie we are saved by grace through Christ apart from our works AND we need to show forth praises for to this we were called that we "may declare the praises of him who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light" (1 Pet 2:9 NIV) for He "gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works" (Titus 2:14 NKJV).

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