March 7, 2012 • By Ed Wrather
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. - Hebrews 5:12 NKJV.
Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious. - 1 Peter 2:1-3 NKJV.
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. - Philippians 2:5-7 NKJV.
In the United States, AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) has a TV commercial aimed at recruiting new members. You can join AARP when you are 50-years-old, and they have been regularly sending me invitations ever since before my fiftieth birthday. The TV commercial asks the question of those who would be old enough to join AARP, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" In the commercial, several responses are given, including these: fix up old houses; run a marathon; and start a band. On the AARP website, they have many other responses from people about what they want to be when they grow up, including: be the oldest surfer in the world; be an architect and build affordable housing; sail around the world; be a Radio Music Hall Rockette dancer; college professor; travel in RV; yoga instructor; backup singer for Tina Turner; registered nurse; diva on a soap opera; write a romance thriller; and, be the person I was before I had to grow up. AARP finishes their commercial by saying that they believe, "you're never done growing."
From the Book of Hebrews and from the epistles of the apostle Paul we know that some early Christians had not yet grown up. The early Christians referred to in the Book of Hebrews should have grown in the faith, and had time to grow in the faith, to become teachers; however, they were still just babies in the faith. Before we condemn them, we need to remember that those were tough times to be living life as Christians. I watched a video Sunday detailing some of the historical records of Jesus. One record from 102 A.D. was of a Roman commander writing the Emperor to determine if Christians should still be put to death. Their crime? They had met together and sang a song referring to Jesus as God.
What about you? What about me? What is your excuse, what is my excuse, for not reaching our growth potential as disciples of our Lord? The apostle Peter indicates some of the things that slow down the growth process: malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and evil speaking. Peter says those things must be laid aside. The writer of the Book of Hebrews says we need to, "lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us." The apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 3 encourages that we avoid worldly wisdom, and we are told that, "the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God (1 Corinthians 3:19)." Of course, there are many other things which slow down our growth as children of God. I am sure that you know very well what they are in your own life, just as I am in mine. Whatever is slowing down our growth to our maturity in Christ, let us lay it aside.
What do you want to be when you grow up as a child of God? Personally, I want to be like my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ when I grow up. As we are told in the epistle to the Philippians, "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus."