“Everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity.” “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.” Hebrews 5:13-6:1; Philippians 3:12
We recently visited several schools in areas of Puerto Rico hit hard by Hurricane Maria and a challenging economy. In brilliant contrast to the depressed state of affairs around them, the students shone with joy, hope, delight in life and learning. When asked what they wanted to be, they responded with confidence a news journalist, an engineer, a coder, a physical trainer, an illustrator. They were vibrant with curious exploration, not only aware of their gifts but eagerly honing them. Most were bilingual, one worked calculus, another debate, one Student Council teen prayed over us with the maturity of a seasoned theologian. One little boy, with glasses and years and heart stature much larger than his body, greeted and guided us through hallways with a quiet assurance. When asked about his aspirations, he said calmly I have lots of gifts. We later learned he had been there less than three months, bullied and stagnant at his previous school, now flourishing in the spirited, encouraging environment. Not one child said he wanted to stay on the playground; everyone we met seemed eager to grow, apply what was taught, press on to maturity.
One teacher of a few dozen elementary students in a remote, poor area had her Masters degree and wide opportunities, but said with shining smile she always sought the Lord and knew this was where God had her. Another young couple, proficient and successful in technology disciplines and secular careers, heeded God’s call to lead a church and school, humble to learn all they could and fully committed to the vision of maturing students to make a difference. It is inspiring to imagine what God will do with these living examples for these young ones who were being trained in spiritual discernment entwined with their subject knowledge.
How willingly, and with what measure of gusto, am I pressing on to maturity? What doesn’t grow dies. As days and months go by, it is vital we keep choosing spiritual meat over milk, stretching and moving over sedentariness. Alongside whom do I strive, mutually strengthening souls, sharpening iron with iron? Do I ever say I have read enough, learned enough, know enough? I’ve served my time, it’s another’s turn? Where am I choosing spiritual recess over advanced courses and training? (1 Samuel 23:16; Proverbs 27:17; Acts 14:22)
Lord, please so order my days and choices and growth, that I stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God, and keep moving to help others do the same, to the praise of Your glory. (Colossians 4:12)