Pampers to the Cross

People fall into one of two categories. Some are baby people, some aren't. If you're not a baby person, you look at a new born and say, "Call me when the baby starts to walk!" I'm from the call me camp! My philosophy about babies is summed up with this statement: "A baby is a digestive apparatus with a loud noise at one end and no responsibility at the other!"

Well, there's a parallel between babies and the Christian life. God's Word equates new Christians with babies. Peter, says in 1 Peter 2:2, "Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation." Like newborn babies starting out in life, new Christians mess up and need special care and attention, even though they show a great deal of promise and potential. There is nothing wrong with that. We all go through the early stages of growth and we all have to learn how to walk. But, what would happen if the babes in Christ remained babes? A year old baby is expected to still be in diapers. It is normal and perfectly fine. What about a ten, twenty, or thirty year old baby? What would happen if the church were like a nursery full of babies?

If that were the case, the church would be full of self-centered demanding people noisily competing with one another for the most attention. It would be a place of self, with no service. The church would be a messy place, full of hungry, grumpy kids desiring to be amused and entertained. Ever been in a church like that? There are a few out there, and probably always will be!

Perhaps that's why there is such an emphasis in the New Testament on growing up. In 1 Corinthians 14:20, Paul says, "Brothers, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil, be infants, but in your thinking be adults." And in Ephesians 4:13 we're told that the goal of the Church is that we would "all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ." Finally, the writer of Hebrews says, "Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity" (Heb 6:1a).

How important is growth and maturity in our Christian lives? Well, let me put it to you this way: the more we grow, the more we glorify Christ and fulfill His purpose for our lives. Sounds kind of important to me. What about you? Well, let's shift gears and look at Jesus for a moment. (You were wondering when I would start to get to the Easter theme weren't you?)

Jesus was born into this world as a baby. And, just like you and me, He had to be fed, cleaned, and protected. But then He began to grow and Scripture tells us that "Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men." (Luke 2:52) Jesus was perfect in every way, but was He fully mature? NO! Was he all that God wanted him to be? NO! Soon he reached thirty years of age and was called into his time of ministry. Well, what would have happened if Jesus weren't mature enough to obey that call? What if He hadn't submitted to those waters of baptism that signaled the beginning of His ministry? Jesus' life, His perfection, would have been wasted.

For three years, Jesus taught and healed and restored and loved and rebuked. For three years he lived His life constantly reflecting the glory of God. During this time, He was always in perfect obedience to the Father's will. But then it came time for the cross. In the garden came the greatest battle of His life. He cried out to God and said, "Take this cup from me." Jesus declared: I don't want to do this, I don't want to go to the cross, I don't want to finish what you sent me to do. Father, let's switch to plan 'B' -- quickly.

But as he prayed and struggled, He finally found the faith, the strength, the focus to say, "Father, what I want doesn't matter. Not my will, but Yours be done." Would Jesus' teaching have really had any eternal benefit for us today if He didn't take that last step of giving Himself completely to God by going to the cross? NO. Would it matter that he healed a few thousand people during His ministry? NO. Would it matter that He even raised a handful of people from the dead? NO. Nothing that God intended to do through Christ would have mattered if Christ hadn't fully and finally said, "Father, I don't want to, but I will -- for You!"

If Jesus hadn't submitted to that final step in God's will for his life, He could have never uttered those words on the cross, "It is finished." You see those words didn't just concern the completion of His ministry. They also signaled the completion of His growth as the perfect human being. And without those words, we would be still be in our sins, without life, without hope, without forgiveness. Jesus' life wasn't fully mature until everything He had, including His very life was willingly given to God. Only then was God ultimately and fully glorified. Only then was the will, the work, the plan of God made a reality.

Well, let me leave you with a question. Have you stopped growing? Have you stopped asking, "Lord, not my will, but thine?' Some of us are still babes in Christ because we are new in the faith and that's fine, but if you're in that position, realize that being a babe isn't enough. You have been called to grow so that you "may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way." (Col 1:10). The same thing applies to all of us. God wants all of your life, not just part of it.

Addendum -- Philippians 1:6 (NIV)  "... being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."

[ By: Grant McDonald -- Ed: Anon. ]


Inspirational Stories     SkyWriting.Net     All Rights Reserved.