February 20, 2014
I Don’t Want to Grow Up!
When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child does. But when I grew up, I put away childish things (1 Corinthians 13:11, NLT).
Friend to Friend
I remember the first time I saw the movie, “Peter Pan.” I was a little girl, totally mesmerized by the character of Peter. I wanted to be just like him. After the movie was over, I immediately ran into my back yard and jumped out of a tree – trying to fly! Fortunately, nothing was broken, and I quickly decided I could be contented with being like Peter in other ways. I immediately vowed never to grow up. I agreed with Peter that the adult world seemed frightening; it was very large and demanding, completely beyond my control.
However, life goes on and I somehow managed to navigate the treacherous waters of life, finding myself happily married with two children. Once again, I wished time would stop or at least slow down so my children would stay babies. Of course, that wish didn’t come true either, but I have to say that my life today is very sweet. Our son, Jered, is married to a beautiful girl, and they have three children. Our daughter, Danna, is married to a wonderful young man and they have two children. Both Jered and Danna have grown into wonderful young adults, not to mention the fact that they have given us beautiful grandchildren. The desire to grow is a healthy desire and a natural process in human development.
The same principle is true when it comes to our spiritual development and growth. If the desire to grow isn’t present in our lives, there’s something wrong with our spiritual health. Healthy Christians grow and mature. It’s natural for the Christian to grow and mature in Christ. God not only wants us to grow, He commands us to do so.
The Apostle Paul wrote a letter to the church at Corinth, correcting them for their childish attitudes about the spiritual gifts of tongues, knowledge and prophecy. He encouraged them to grow up, to put away these less mature gifts, and to seek the more mature gifts such as love, faith and hope.
We can apply this same encouragement to our lives today. It’s time for us to become mature believers by putting away immature attitudes and actions. One of the most obvious marks of maturity or immaturity is how we use words.
Mature believers don’t speak like children. We never know exactly what a child is going to say, but we naturally expect childish words to come from children. Paul is saying that a great measurement of maturity for us as Christians is how well we use words.
Our words need to be controlled. In the book of James, we find a sobering challenge. “We all make many mistakes, but those who control their tongues can also control themselves in every other way” (James 3:2, NLT). If we can control our tongues, we can control ourselves. James, a disciple of Jesus, compares the tongue to the rudder on a ship, a bit in the horse’s mouth or a spark that starts a huge fire. The tongue is powerful and difficult to control. Our words can give or destroy life. Once a word is spoken, it is eternal.
Our words need to be encouraging. One of the highest responsibilities in the body of Christ is to practice encouragement. A word of encouragement may be a life preserver to someone drowning in a storm of life.
Our words need to be truthful. Mark Twain said, “A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” Lies hold us in bondage while truth sets us free.
We need to be extremely careful what we say and how we say it because the spoken word is powerful. It can bless or curse, express praise or whisper slander. It can be a tool of blessing or a weapon of destruction. How we use the tongue is a dead give-away of our spiritual maturity. If we don’t learn to control our tongue, it will control us.
I know! Maturity is hard work. It would be a lot easier to remain babies in Christ, but in order to live a life of victory and honor God, we need to set our minds and hearts on growing up spiritually.
The words we speak are direct indicators of our maturity level. Ouch! If you are like me, you really do want to use words as a gift of encouragement, but it is so easy to speak before we think.
Let’s get into God’s Word so we will have good things to speak.
Let’s pray diligently so we will be prepared to give a Godly verbal response.
And when we fail, let’s confess our frailty, celebrate God’s strength…and begin again.
Father, I confess that I am still childish and lack maturity in many areas of my life. I now lay those areas before You, and ask that You take control. Teach me Your ways. Lord. Help me control my tongue and speak words that encourage and build others up. Right now, I give myself anew to You and pray that in the days to come, I will grow up so that others will see You in my life.
In Jesus’ name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Take some time to evaluate the maturity level in every area of life – especially in the words you speak.
In what areas have you grown since becoming a Christian?
What are the areas in which you need to mature?
How would others describe the words that you speak?
Who is there in your life that needs a word of encouragement today? How can you meet that need?
More from the Girlfriends
Prayer is one of our most powerful tools in learning to control the words we speak. If you want a powerful prayer life, I encourage you to check out my husband’s new E-Book, Chair Time. It is a short read that not only will change the way you view prayer but teach you how to hear the voice of God as well.
Need help learning how to study the Bible?Check out Mary’s weekly online Bible study, Light for the Journey. The current topic is How to Tame Your Tongue. And be sure to connect with Mary on Facebook or through email.
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