Before his parents took him to the Czech Republic for a Missions trip a couple of weeks ago, we were glad to find the “Pause” button on our 5-month-old grandson Corban (cute picture, right?). Amy and Josh must have paid extra for it (I hear it doesn’t come standard), and we’re thrilled to not miss out on any of the phases of his development. It’s great to know he will return in April EXACTLY like he was when he left a couple of weeks ago.
OK, I lied. I wish we could have found the Pause button, but we all know that’s impossible. Babies don’t have Pause buttons (or volume controls, which would be even better). In fact, if a baby stops developing, it’s an indicator of a serious problem. Healthy babies grow.
What is true of babies is also true of Christ-followers. Peter uses baby imagery in 1 Peter 2:2 – “Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the Word, that by it you may grow in respect to salvation.” Hebrews 5 carries the image to the next step, confronting older and theoretically “more mature” believers about their ongoing need for milk when they should be ready for solid food. Like babies, healthy Christians grow.
Growth of a baby is obvious, but Christian growth can be a little more challenging to measure. I’ve developed three questions that I use in my own life and ministry – maybe you’ll find them helpful. I ask myself:
- Is my love for that which God loves greater this year than it was last year?
- Is my hatred for that which God hates greater this year than it was last year?
- If so, would someone examining my life be able to see the difference?
So here’s the bottom line that we all need to address: When it comes to my spiritual life, am I growing? Am I increasingly enthralled by and committed to that which God loves? Am I increasingly repulsed and disgusted by that which He hates (yeah, God hates stuff – look it up). And is that evident in my life? To put it simply: do I look more like Jesus today than I did a year ago?
If your answer is “yes,” that’s great! Keep it up. If not, don’t settle for a spiritual life that is on hold. God receives glory when He makes us like Christ, and your life will be better and more satisfying when He receives from you that which He deserves.
Can I make some suggestions to those who have stagnated, or gone backwards?
- Start a Bible-reading plan that you can handle, in a version that you can understand – go for the milk that Peter talks about!
- Dive into some new spiritual disciplines. Don’t limit yourself to the ones that have failed you in the past. I commend Sabbath to you, but there are many others that could be equally effective in giving you the jump-start that you need.
- Surround yourself with other Christians who will inspire you, encourage you, challenge you – and occasionally give you a good kick in the you-know-where.
We have to refuse to settle for a stagnant Christian life. It can be so much better than that! Jesus died and rose again so that it would be. That should matter every week – but it rings especially true this week.
No, babies don’t have Pause buttons. Sadly, Christians do. Is it time to hit “Play” again?