I have a lot of great childhood memories.
I remember how the warm Virginia summertime seemed to last forever. I remember the time my dad and I put firecrackers inside matchbox cars to see if they would blow up. I remember mom baking what seemed like hundreds of cookies around Christmastime. I remember having a loose tooth that came out when I bit into a piece of corn-on-the-cob. I remember being 7 years old when my parents told me that I was going to be a big brother and then a few months later my sister was born. I think I told everyone I could at school that day – I was so proud. I remember the fun I had with my friends riding our bikes, playing tag, and having rotten apple wars….
Yes, rotten apple wars. Didn’t everyone do that?
While those were some great times, it would’ve been a poor choice if I decided to live that lifestyle my entire life. At 36, if I started attacking someone with rotten apples it would be grounds for arrest. If I decided to ride my bike and play tag with kids at the park all day instead of going to work, it would not be long before my wife pointed me in the right direction, either to my office or to a counselor. As fun as my childhood was, there came a time when I grew up and set aside the childish things. I had to mature and accept responsibility for my life and for our family.
As Christians we also need to mature and become responsible. The times in our young Christian life were great. We were fed through discipleship classes and bible studies, enjoyed hanging out with Christian friends at church fellowships, and received close attention and care from the pastor and other leadership as we grew in knowledge during our early years. Those times were important in forming who we are today.
But we cannot live that lifestyle forever.
“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” (1 Corinthians 13:11 KJV)
If we are comfortable living a life of immaturity in Christ, what good can we be to others? How can we help new Christians grow? See the sick healed? The bound freed? The possessed delivered? We need to come to the point where we put into practice the things we have learned through the months, years, or possibly decades of our Christian walk. That’s when we start to fulfill our purpose.
Our purpose is not to be saved. It’s not even to sit in bible studies and discipleship classes. Those things are important but are there to prepare us for our real purpose – bringing God glory, making Him famous, and sharing Him with the world.
“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,” (Hebrews 12:1 KJV)
Do you want to become stronger in your relationship with Christ? Leave behind things that keep you trapped in immaturity. Lay them down. Get rid of the weight you carry. The world needs us to be who God has called us to be. It needs examples of men and women who love God, who know the truth, and are willing to live it. Will you be that person?
Will you put down the rotten apple and reach out a hand to a friend in need?