On her first day in preschool, young Charlotte was asked to draw a picture of herself. Her artwork featured a simple orb for a body, an oblong head, and two circle eyes. On her last day of preschool, Charlotte was again directed to draw a self-portrait. This one showed a little girl in a colorful dress, a smiling face with distinct features, and a cascade of beautiful red tresses. The school had used a simple assignment to demonstrate the difference that time can make in the level of maturity.
While we accept that it takes time for children to mature, we may grow impatient with ourselves or fellow believers who show slow spiritual growth. We rejoice when we see the “fruit of the Spirit” (Gal. 5:22–23), but are disheartened when we observe a sinful choice. The author of Hebrews spoke of this when he wrote to the church: “Though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again” (Heb. 5:12).
As we continue to pursue intimacy with Jesus ourselves, let’s pray for each other and patiently come alongside those who love God but who seem to struggle with spiritual growth. “Speaking the truth in love,” let’s continue to encourage one another, so that together we may “grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ” (Eph. 4:15).
Lord, we love You! In our walk with You, help us to receive and give encouragement.
Words of truth spoken in love can guide us all toward maturity in Christ.
When children begin to accept responsibility for their actions and demonstrate more patience, we say they are “growing up.” The children of God are to grow up spiritually—to express a heart for God and others in the spirit and attitudes of Christ. In Paul’s New Testament letter to the Ephesians his message is subtle but clear. He knows that just as there is a time to celebrate the miracle and wonder of a child, there is a time to get beyond childishness. But he writes with patience and gentleness and doesn’t set a timeframe, reminding us that our desire for maturity must be expressed with love (4:2).
For further study on spiritual growth read God at the Center.