Eight years ago God gave my husband and me the sweetest gift in our daughter, Adelene, or affectionately known as Addie. We were excited to become new parents, as we had been praying for this child for years, but we quickly found ourselves totally unprepared for the life of a newborn. Nevertheless, we made it through the sleepless nights and countless bottles. We cheered wildly as Addie learned to crawl, then walk, then speak, and the list goes on. We were the proud parents of a baby genius!
Now that Addie is eight, she continues to amaze us, but we have slowly come to the realization that she is not perfect. She still needs time to grow and mature in order to become a woman and it is somewhat daunting to know that we, as her parents, are in charge of this important yet precious task.
Last year, Addie told us that she wanted to be baptized and Adams’ and my heart leapt with joy. Adams began the process of walking her though what it means to be a Christian, starting with repentance and ending with the beautiful gift of salvation. Over the course of several weeks she asked us many questions, and at last Adams and I were sure that she understood the magnitude of her decision. She accepted Christ as her Savior and has therefore been made a new creation in Him.
But the process doesn’t stop there. If Adams and I don’t continue to have her grow and mature in her faith, then she stays as an infant and never reaches a fulfilled life of righteousness. And although she is assured an eternal life, she may miss her calling and all the benefits one receives by having a rich, personal relationship with the Almighty.
The author of Hebrews warns us from staying as infants in our spiritual man saying, “Now everyone who lives on milk is inexperienced with the message about righteousness, because he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature—for those whose senses have been trained to distinguish between good and evil.”(Hebrews 5:13-14)
No, Addie won’t be able to eat a hearty spiritual steak right away because she doesn’t have the teeth or the stomach for it. But eventually she will be able to take cereal in her milk. And then she can graduate to bananas and Cheerios, until meal by meal and year by year she finds that her stomach has stretched and she is able to digest rich spiritual principles.
Additionally, as she consumes more spiritual food, her body will grow and her limbs will lengthen. At first she will wobble when learning to walk, but eventually she will know how to skip and run. That doesn’t mean that she won’t ever fall down, because she most definitely will. Rather, she will begin to see her stumbles as a temporary setback and will simply stand back up and start walking again. Step by step she will be growing in her walk with the Lord.
The point is this, dear friend: Even though this sweet girl has a beautiful and regenerated heart, she must strive to grow in her faith and to find her calling so that she may glorify her Creator. She needs to be mindful of her sin so that she can run with endurance the race that Jesus has set before her. And we as her parents must not only model this for her, but we need to be there to cheer for her, to pick her up if she falls and put her back on course, and to remind her that all she needs to do is keep her eyes on Jesus. (Hebrews 12:1-2)