Outgrowing God?

matureI love my children and they love me but oh so differently than they once did.  Though they are independent adults who enjoy rich and productive lives, in spite of the fact that we live a thousand miles apart, we are family. I love them, they love me.  They did not ‘outgrow’ their Dad, they love me in a way that is richer and deeper than they did 3 decades ago. The illustration is imperfect yet workable as I think about knowing God.

How do you love God?
Like a toddler, dependent, in need of constant monitoring?
Like a teenager, pushing the boundaries of the relationship, testing the limits of love sometimes?
Maturely, honoring, respecting, walking with Him productively as you come to know His Mind and Heart in deeper ways?

Peter urges us to grow in grace. “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.” (1 Peter 2:2-3, NIV)  Spiritual maturity, just like the natural kind, is not without choice and struggle.  Yes, we all grow older, but we do not necessarily mature, do we?  Some people remain childish, refusing responsibility, waiting to be rescued, making messes despite being 40 years old! Others learn, develop, and grow into loving, whole people that make the world around them a much more lovely place.

One of the marks of maturity is seeing things as they are and dealing with them.  Those who are childish allow themselves to live in fairy tales and excuses. Because they confuse fact and fantasy, their lives are tangled messes of poor decisions, debt, and/or failed relationships. Christians who refuse to grow often become bitter towards God expecting Him to indulge them, make allowances for their continuing sins, and to take away the consequences of their choices.  What He desires is to train us to walk alongside of Him, to gain His wisdom, and partner with Him to defeat evil, roll back suffering, and to make His Kingdom known.  That is beyond the capabilities of infants, isn’t it?

What beauty comes from the life of the Christian who loves God steadily, completely. They enjoy His love in good times and bad. They do the work of the Kingdom when there is applause and when they are hidden in obscure places. How do we reach that kind of maturity? The Word says we are trained by discipline!
“As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all. Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever? For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful!

But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.” (Hebrews 12:7-11, NLT)

Do not confuse ‘discipline’ with ‘punishment.’  Too many do! Discipline is training that takes us through some hard places where we find out who we are and who He is.  There we learn to take the resources He provides and make them multiply with our daily choices.

Here is a word from the Word. It is a prayer of the mature.  As you read it, I hope you will make it your aspiration. “Two things I ask of you, O Lord; do not refuse me before I die: Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.” (Proverbs 30:7-9, NIV)

Let’s start our week right, loving Him wholly, so as to become beautifully holy.  Have a great day!

__________

Good, Good Father

I’ve heard a thousand stories
Of what they think You’re like
But I’ve heard the tender whisper
Of love in the dead of night
You tell me that You’re pleased
And that I’m never alone

 You’re a Good, Good Father
It’s who You are
It’s who You are
It’s who You are
And I’m loved by You
It’s who I am
It’s who I am
It’s who I am

 I’ve seen many searching for answers
Far and wide
But I know we’re all searching for answers
Only You provide
Because You know just what we need
Before we say a word 

You are perfect in all of Your ways
You are perfect in all of Your ways
You are perfect in all of Your ways to us

 Love so undeniable I can hardly speak
Peace so unexplainable I can hardly think
As You call me deeper still
As You call me deeper still
As You call me deeper still
Into love love love

Anthony Brown | Pat Barrett © 2014 Capitol CMG Paragon (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)CCLI License # 810055

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s