Do you know someone who you wish would “just grow up”?
You are both Christians...and go to the same church. But you are more sure of your standing with God than you about “his.” There is just “not the evidence of growth” you would like to see there. “After ALL this time. Surely by now, he would get it...”
Do you know anyone who wishes that YOU would “just grow up?”
Do you sometimes wonder if YOU will ever “grow up”?
Okay. Skip that one for now. Too painful too think about. So maybe you never do.
Do you think that God wishes that you would “just grow up?”
It has occurred to me a few times that God is not as worried about our “lack of growth” as we are. Is it possible that God doesn't really expect us to ever be “done” or “perfect” the way we use those terms? Does He even pay attention to what we consider “growth”?
Does it bother God if we have “spiritual growing pains”?
The actual answer may embarrass and humiliate us. Especially if we compare ourselves to the “Spiritual Giants” in the Bible. Like Paul. Especially if we forget that they had to grow up, too.
Men like Paul had to grow up?!
According to the Bible, yes, they did.
Saul, the hot headed, model Pharisee was stopped in his tracks at the gate of Damascus. Upon receiving his sight and baptism, he began preaching Christ.
Hot headed, newly converted and full of zeal, Paul preached Christ...and caused a stir wherever he went.
Christ drew him away into the wilderness for about three years. The church had rest. Paul met Christ and was taught by Him.
Paul was “on fire” and expected those around him to be on fire too. In the same way he was. To the same extent that he was. Read Galatians, one of Paul's first epistles. Everything was clear to Paul, and it “ate at him” that others didn't get it.
John Mark turned back and went home to Jerusalem. (Acts 12:25; 13:13)
Later, Barnabas and Paul were planning another journey. (Acts 15:36-41)
Uncle Barnabas wanted John Mark to go along. His young nephew had grown up some. Barnabas wanted to give John Mark the credit for having changed that he gave Saul earlier.
Not Saul. He remembered too much. John Mark's failure when he was needed the most.
Did Saul forget?...forget where he had been?...how far he had come?...the “undeserved” chances he had been given...thanks to Barnabas? The one who was asking him to give another chance to John Mark.
“Paul thought not good to take him with them.”
Pride? Zeal? Heat of the moment? Paul did not see it.
It was not easy. Or automatic. And much of it was in spite of Paul's personality. And it was all the work of the grace of God.
Making Paul small so he could become the great man of God.
Making Paul small enough that he could come fully under the Lordship and control of Jesus Christ. And allow space for John Mark to do the same.
Life did not turn out quite how the young zealous Apostle had dreamed. But it had gone more or less the way he had known all along it would.
Years later, Paul sat in a prison cell.
Writing a letter to Timothy, his young son in the Faith. (2 Timothy 4:11)
Awaiting a probable death sentence.
“Bring John Mark” He dictates.
His mind flashes back to that fateful...yet divisive...yet God allowed afternoon.
You've had those afternoons when you wrote “that brat” off? Or,...when someone wrote YOU off?
You've had those flashbacks, too?
Was there a pang of regret in the old warrior's heart?
A hope that he could make amends for damages of years ago?
A hope that John Mark would understand and...maybe, forgive?
“Bring John Mark,” (his voice cracks) “for he is profitable to me... for the ministry.”
The violently zealous Apostle had grown up.
He grew up.
The timid, run-back-to-mama-and-home-when-it-gets-tough boy had grown up.
He grew up.
They grew up.
You can grow up, if you will give up to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Give up. Grow up.
There is hope.
You will grow up.
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