Thursday, January 14, 2010

Growing, Thriving, and Increasing His Joy

I am really enjoying Caleb at this age. I love, love, love that he has started to understand some basic reasoning. I can tell him something that is about to happen, something that I expect from him in the near future AND he understands, remembers and responds accordingly. It's just beautiful. It makes it so much easier for him to solve problems, successfully experience new things, communicate with us,...

It's not that I didn't love the infancy stage or the pre-toddler stage. Those were special and our relationship during that time was special. But our relationship is growing. As he develops, learns new things, and his comprehension increases, we are able to communicate with each other better and therefore understand each other better. There isn't actually more time interacting with him, but more depth to our interaction.

It got me thinking, God wants that same thing with us. When we first accept Him as our Lord, we are babies. There is so much we don't understand about Him, about His character, about His work in our lives, and about His plan for the future of man. Our lack of understanding doesn't mean He doesn't enjoy us or that we don't enjoy Him.

But as we study, as we seek, as we listen, as we practice and therefore grow into Christian toddlerhood, childhood, and eventually adulthood, He can reveal more and more to us. The foundation will have already been built and growth in our relationship can occur. I imagine this is His desire. He created us to walk with Him, we messed it up and He has since been doing everything to make that walk possible again. I'm not talking about just salvation either (though I do believe "just salvation" is quite an oxymoron). As great as salvation is, it isn't the finish line. We don't accept Christ, breathe a sigh of relief and check off the spiritual box on our life's to-do list. At least that isn't what He wants of us.

I get excited about my baby's development because of what it means for his future, because what it means for our relationship, and what it means I can teach him next and what he will be able to do next. As His children, He gets excited about our development too. God wants us to grow in our understanding past the milk to the babyfood, to the finger food, to the steak dinner. Each step of growth we take thrills Him because of what it means for our future, for our relationship with Him and for what He's able to teach us next or where He will be able to take us.

So then why do we stop? Why do we think step A or step B is enough? Why don't we want more when He so wants to give it to us? We would never want that for our child. Why don't we let our Father be our Father and teach us new things? All it takes is time.... and active listening.

Hebrews is a very in depth book. I certainly have yet to grasp it all. One portion stands out in light of this...

"We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In fact, 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. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so." (Hebrews 5:11- 6:3)

The frustration of the author is evident, wanting so much for his audience of believers to now understand in more depth (in this case, how Christ is the High Priest in the order of Melchizadek), but they are still at the point on needing a reminder of "elementary" things. How much are they missing! How much are we missing!?!

If need be, I will remind and reteach the basic lessons to my son. I will do it again and again as needed, but how great it would be for him to learn and move on! God will remind us and reteach of His basic lessons again and again and again, as often as we need to hear them. But how much greater our life will be to enjoy the fruit of that wisdom and move on to eat some more and then some more! And how much greater His joy!