I love my oldest son Lincoln. He is 5 years old and loves his daddy! I love seeing the changes in him, physically and socially. As he’s grown older I see the traits that all 5 year old’s seem to exhibit and it got me thinking spiritually.
In the Bible we see that some Christians are referred to as “mature”, and others are referred to as “Baby” Christians. But what about those who aren’t quite mature, but aren’t still babes? What about spiritual 5 year olds? I’m convinced that there are more spiritual 5 year olds than babes out there. These are christians who have a grasp of God’s Word, who don’t need the milk in a bottle anymore, but still aren’t anywhere close to mature. How do we know we are a spiritual 5 year old? Let’s look at some parallels to a physical 5 year old.
- A spiritual 5 year old knows what is the right thing to do, knows the cost and still does the opposite. Lincoln is always doing things that he knows he will get in trouble for. Either he can’t help himself or he has counted the cost and believes that the fun he will have doing the wrong thing will be worth the punishment. Why do we as Christians engage in sinful activities that we know will hurt us in the end? Because we are spiritually 5!
- A spiritual 5 year old thinks that they know better than their father. Lincoln is now in the arguing phase. He thinks he’s right about everything. Even when I tell him he’s wrong, he sticks with his viewpoint. Sometimes he has a hard time believing me even though I’ve never mislead him before. As a spiritual 5 year old, we still think we know better than God. We think that in spite of what God says in His word, we know what is best for us and we don’t listen to our father.
- A spiritual 5 year old thinks mostly of themselves. Like most children, Lincoln is about, “me”. He doesn’t like to share his toys with his brother or think, “what can I do for someone else”. It’s mostly about him. And that’s to be expected when you’re 5. A spiritual 5 year old also thinks mostly of themselves. What can I get out of this church? If this church isn’t meeting my needs, I’ll leave. What programs do you have for me? Church is supposed to be a place where we come to give…to provide for others, to minister to the needs of others, to serve. But if we are in a church of spiritual 5 year olds, no ones needs get met because everyone is looking out for number 1.
- A spiritual 5 year old needs constant affirmation. I love to tell my son that I’m proud of him. I love to squeeze him and tell him every hour on the hour that I love him and that he is doing a good job. While the need for affirmation never goes away, as we mature we should need less of it. A fully mature believer does what’s right no matter the situation and doesn’t need affirmation or praise for doing it. Sometimes it’s nice…a bonus…but it’s not necessary.
- A spiritual 5 year old is afraid to grow up. Lincoln has had a hard time with stopping wearing pull-ups to bed. He never struggled with potty training but this thing has a grip on him. I think he feels deep inside that this part of growing up means that there will be extra work and responsibility for him. He’ll be expected to get up in the middle of the night and go to the bathroom if he has to. He will have to deal with the failure should he mess up and pee the bed. He’d rather keep wearing a pull-up! It’s easier! A spiritual 5 year old would rather stay 5 than grow up spiritually, because if he does grow up, what might God expect of him….what might God ask him to do? He is afraid that God will expect more from him (which is true) and they are afraid of the failure to live up to His expectations…so why not keep wearing spiritual pull-ups?
So, there you have it. Were are you? Are you a spiritual 5 year old? Are there some steps you need to take in order to begin to grow up spiritually? What do you think?