that we should no longer be children’…. Ephesians 4:14 NKJV
Jesus tells us we need to be born again. He tells us we must enter His kingdom as a little child. We must die to self and be born again, as we have things we need to unlearn and relearn. We must come as little children, trusting God and wanting to learn and grow. Yes, grow. While Jesus tells us to come as children, He does not expect us to remain as children. He expects us to grow up.
Years ago I helped a family in my church with their neighborhood youth Bible study group. Several of the kids were already into their teens, but one young girl was in kindergarten. Unable to read, she has a picture Bible. The other kids would help her find the right picture to go along with the passages we were studying in our regular Bibles. The parents and youth were very eager to participate in this study and it was successful for several years. Before we knew it, the girl in kindergarten had grown into a very smart and talented young lady. One day I asked her to read, and when she started fluently reading from the regular Bible she now possessed, my mind went back to her younger days with the picture Bible. I asked the class if they remembered her picture Bible. Several of the other kids were amazed how they had totally forgotten her picture Bible. She had grown slowly day by day, year by year, until she was reading just as good as any of the rest of the kids. Still it was so gradual, the other kids confessed they had not noticed, and over time had just forgotten about the picture Bible she once brought to the study.
While Paul encourages us in Philippians 3:13-14 to keep moving forward, in Ephesians He also takes time to remind the Ephesians that at one time you lived in darkness, but not now, You once were dead in sin but not now. Look how you have grown!
Ellen White encourages us that …
As God is perfect in His sphere, so man is to be perfect in his sphere. –Ellen White, Maranatha, page 227.
When my young friend was in kindergarten looking up pictures in her picture Bible was perfect for her in her sphere of kindergarten. However she kept growing and, as a young lady, the picture Bible was no longer perfect for her. She grew into a new sphere, where an adult Bible became perfect for her. Still the class, as well as the young lady herself, were very intrigued when I pointed out how much her reading skills had improved over time. While we keep moving forward, and growing so that we are no longer children, it is also important to look back occasionally just to see how far we have come and encourage ourselves that actual progress is being made. By God’s grace we can be perfect it our own sphere as we grow from sphere to sphere.
While we once walked in darkness and were dead in sins, we are no longer in darkness and dead in sins. We are growing day by day, year by year, and we will keep growing by grace,
till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; Ephesians 4:13 NKJV
While we all still see plenty of room for growth, it may still be a good idea to pause for a moment and give God some credit and thanks for helping us to grow to become the men and women we are today. What are some areas of your life where you would like to thank God for helping you mature?