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Girlfriends in God - Jan. 4, 2007


January 4, 2007

I Don't Want to Grow Up!

Mary Southerland


Today's Truth

“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 and 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.  So I vowed to never grow up!  I agreed with him that the adult world seemed frightening; it was very large and demanding, completely beyond my control.


But life goes on and I somehow managed to navigate the treacherous waters of life, finding myself happily married with two children. Once again, I wish time would stop or at least slow down so my children would stay babies.  Of course, that wish didn’t come true either.  Today, Jered is finishing college and Danna is starting.  They are wonderful young adults who bring us great joy and teach us so much about life.  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 it! 


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. You 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!  It’s time to grow up!


Let's Pray

Father, I confess that in many ways I am still so childish and lack maturity.   I now lay those areas before you and ask that you take control, teaching me your ways. Lord, help me control my tongue and speak words that would 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.  Amen.


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?

___ Husband

___ Children

___ Neighbors

___ Co-workers

___ Friends


Who is there in your life that needs a word of encouragement today?  How can you meet that need?


For more on this topic, see Mary’s CD, The Powerful Woman.


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