Growing up, I wanted to be just like Debbie Gibson. The popular 80s singer was the coolest person EVER. Her jean jacket. Her blonde, teased, big hair. Her gigantic hoop earrings and amazingly catchy songs drew me in. (Check her out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IivGqwQvdCI)
I never wanted to be a singer, just beautiful, happy, and fun like Debbie. I knew every word to every song. I emulated Debbie by fluffing up my hair and wearing stone washed jeans.
Growing up is tough. Figuring out who you are, wandering from life stage to life stage, wondering if you're even in the right place making the right decisions? Sometimes we even resist growing more mature in an effort to do things our own way.
As a teacher, springtime is when I start saying to my students, "Friends, you're almost in second grade now. It's time to act like second graders." I encourage more responsibility, more alertness, and more engagement to prepare them for the tasks that lie ahead in future years.
Isn't that just like our God who expects growth from us, His children? Our God who leads us through hills and valleys, growing us in love each step of the way? A God who prepares us for each tough time and carefree moment alike?
In Ephesians 4:15 God admonishes us to speak the truth to each other in love, but right after that He communicates His desire for us to grow up:
Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.
Growing up in EVERY way INTO HIM. God provides the ultimate model for our growth. The head of the body. The perfect, Holy God who wants us to grow into Him and none other.
When my husband of nine years left, I didn't want to grow up and into God. I knew God was trying to growing my faith through this. I knew God wanted me to draw near to Him and find ways to see my helpless and hopeless condition, but often I fought that growth. Preferring to stay nestled in the care of my husband, I pushed God aside for months praying that my husband would return. Relying on a human rather than my God. Growing only in foolish pride. This is a familiar scene for God's people, the Israelites.
In Exodus 16 they have recently experienced God's miraculous deliverance at the Red Sea, and soon they grumble against Him yet again.
Exodus 16:4- Then the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day's portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my law or not."
A day's portion. No more, no less to test whether they will walk in God's law, or stray away from him each day.
This is all part of growing up my friends. Deciding where your allegiance lies. As we grow up spiritually we have to determine if we can justify our grumbling. If our hard hearts are warranted. If we really believe God is in control. That He is good. That He is perfectly leading us through only what is necessary for our ultimate growth. Do we believe that?
Are we looking for ways to grow up in every way? Ways to mature, move forward, build faith and strength? Some days I'd rather just stay put. I'd rather grumble and drag my feet. Actually, there are a lot of days like that. Wasted time. Time I have not redeemed for growth. Stunted. Diminished. Useless.
Let's seek growth my friends. Let's follow God's lead and trust His allowance of daily bread to sustain us through these growing pains. Let's intentionally pursue a life of spiritual growth as we become more like Him, no matter what the path looks like or how daunting our steps may seem.
Honestly, I would still love to be like Debbie Gibson. But remembering her spunk and sparkle, the things that drew me to her, makes me realize that I have grown beyond external hopes and expectations. I want more. I want growth in a faith that only God can give. A growth I can get on board with knowing that God will give the increase as I seek Him daily.
1 Corinthians 3:6-7- I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.
Over the next month I plan to post a small series on Spiritual Growth. Topics will include:
Growing in Grace and Knowledge: Beyond Bible Reading
What Does 'Mature In Christ' Really Look Like?
Growth Through Trials: No Thanks God
5 Ways God Uses Others to Help Us Grow
Hope you can stop by and check out the series each week!
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Revive Me Again
When circumstances bring us down, only God can revive our hearts.