I have been thinking about the walk of a Christian. At some point in our walk we should be spiritually grown. It seems to me that a lot of people don’t ever want to reach that point. Just as a Peter Pan didn’t want to grow up, there are a lot of Christians that want to remain children. Let’s go to the scripture.
In 1 Corinthians 13,Paul tells about a point in his walk where he grew up. In verse 11, he states that when he was a child, he understood and spoke as a child. It also says that he thought as a child. But he then tells us that once he became a man he put away childish things. Looking back at my own walk I can definitely see differences between when I was young inChrist and now.
There is not a specific age or number of years that determines when you are a spiritual adult. In this world you legally become an adult at a certain age. You may not be mature, but you are legally an adult. You are given adult responsibilities. You have adult privileges and in general everything changes for you. In theChristian walk, it is not the same. We have to make choices to become spiritual adults. Look again at that passage –Paulsays “when” I became a man. He recognized that spiritually he had become a man. He then made a choice to put away childish things. God brings us to a place where we are spiritually weaned.
As I said before comparing my spiritual walk and many other people that I know, there seems to be different kinds of battles when we are youngChristians. Turn with me to the book of Exodus. In Exodus chapter 14, Moses and God’s people have just leftEgypt. God sent 10 plagues to demonstrate His power and convince Pharaoh to let His people go. Moses and all of the Israelites headed toward the Promised Land. They had no idea that Pharaoh was about to follow. As they camped at theRed Sea, God was about to do something to establish Himself with them. The Egyptians came in an army of chariots to annihilate the Jews. In verse 10, it says thatIsraelcried out to the Lord for their defense. They thought that it was all over for them, but God had another plan. In verse 13, Moses told them to simply stand still and see the salvation of the Lord. In the next verse he says the Lord shall fight for you and ye shall hold your peace.
Do you remember when you were first saved? The battles that you had were probably miraculously won with no intervention on your part. That is the way I remember my early battles. God did the fighting and I held my peace. I have seen many young Christians have miracles happening all around them: before they can even decide what to do God has already taken care of it. As you remember the story of Moses, God stopped the army with a pillar of fire. He also opened up the Red Seaand they walked over on dry land. There was no fighting on their part. They were headed to a land flowing with milk and honey that God had ordained for them. Once they got to the other side, God allowed the Egyptian army to pass into theRed Sea, but He killed them with the water.
(v28) Verse 31 says that Israel saw the great work that the Lord did.
When we are young in the things of the Lord, God seems to take special care in making sure that we see His hand in mighty ways in order to build our faith and help us to learn to trust Him. He takes the full force of our battles onto Himself because we are not quite able to handle the attack yet.
Consider your children. No parent expects their child to take the full responsibilities of an adult. Toddlers aren’t made to clean their room. Infants don’t feed themselves. Kindergarteners don’t plan their day. Even teenagers aren’t expected to take full responsibility for every need in their life: food, shelter, clothing, etc. But there comes a time when we expect our children to act as adults. Paulsaid when I “became” a man, I put away childish things. There is a battle of maturity that we have to have a hand in. We may not want it, but it happens. It is the battle of a matureChristian. It helps us to grow inChrist. Just as the Old Testament gives us parallels for many things inChrist, it also gives us lessons for our walk inChrist. Let’s look at a battle of maturity in the book of Joshua.
In Joshua chapter 3, we no longer see Moses as leader ofIsrael. God has called Moses home and placed Joshua as leader. Joshua has taken the Israelites and they are about to finally enter the Promised Land. Now there are many old hymns to crossingJordanas being a parallel to entering heaven. But I don’t think that this is what God’s Word is showing us. Joshua is crossing theJordan Riverduring the worst time of the year. In verse 15 it says that theJordanwas flooded at this time. God had them camp in front of this flooded river for 3 days without any direction (verse 2). They knew that they had to get across and they knew that God had parted the sea for Moses, but this time it was different. They wanted across with a passion. They had a prize that God said was their own. There were 3 days to wonder how God would do it.
The direction that the Lord gave them was different than the one He had given Moses. This crossing required more faith. These were mature men; no longer just freed from slavery. These were men strong and seasoned in faith. They were sure God would take them through and had patience to wait on Him. They didn’t whine like their fathers. They were ready for battle. In verses 15 and 16, it says that the priest had to actually start into the water. Remember that this river was out of its banks. As they began to wade out, they could see that the current was swift. God then parted the water and the water was actually piled up in a heap. The Army of God followed after theArk.
Once they were on the other side, everything was different. With Moses, God provided Manna, meat and water for them with practically no effort of their own. In Joshua chapter 5:12, we find that the Manna stopped falling once they started eating food from the new land. Just think – the food was there but they had to work for it.
(2 Thessalonians3:10“For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.”) God may hand feed His young children but He expects mature believers to feed themselves on the food that He has provided. He provides for both but requires more effort from the elders.
In Chapter 6 of Joshua, is the battle ofJericho. They were sure of victory, but did not know how God would send it. He made them patiently wait as they marched around the city for 6 days in silence. Patience is one of the virtues of a matureChristian. As they marched around they may have been jeered at by the enemy. No doubt, the enemy began to think that they were out of their minds. It probably looked like a parade to them. After six days of marching and no fighting,Jerichomay have laughed. We often get laughed at asChristians, but matureChristians hold their peace. They have understanding that no matter how long it takes the final outcome is settled.
On the seventh day, God was ready for them to charge. He could have given them victory at any time or in another way, but he chose to make them wait and then fight. When they were obedient to God and shouted the walls came down – the obstacle between them and the battle was removed, but the battle still had to be fought.
These two parallels that we look at today show us two different types of thinking. The people that Moses led were whiney babies. Everything was done for them and they still cried. The people that Joshua led were mature soldiers of God. He required trust, faith and complete obedience from these men. These men had to get their feet wet before the water parted. They were made to wait in silence. Babies cannot keep their mouths closed – they speak out of their weakness. Mature Christians learn silence. Mature Christians learn patience. Mature Christians walk in obedience and progress toward holiness.
In the battle of Jericho they had an impossible obstacle that they could not defeat – that is where God stepped in. But the part of the battle that they had ability to fight and win was required of them. Moses situation was one of defense against an attacking enemy. Joshua’s was an offensive effort against a seemingly impassable obstacle that barred their way from the promise. Both situations were assured victory because of the promise of God but the requirements were quite different.
Have you been walking with the Lord for some time now? If so, have you noticed times when you didn’t hear from Him? We often wonder if God still cares since we don’t hear His voice. It may seem that you are going through a battle and you’re waiting to hear from God. It very well could be that God expects you to be a mature warrior. I heard a preacher say once that the teacher never talks during the test. In Deuteronomy 32:11, 12 is a reference to an eagle stirring her nest. Moses is talking about the parent eagle dealing with her young ones in order to make them fly. Eagles line their nests with soft feathers for their babies. They bring food to them and there is nothing the babies have to do. At some point of growth they reach a stage where they are able to fly, but because the nest is so comfortable they won’t have any desire to do so.
The method that the eagle uses is to stir up the nest. The nest is made of rough sticks which makes it uncomfortable for the young eagle. These eagles have to do something new. I can just imagine them thinking that their mother is being cruel to them. Perhaps they think she doesn’t care about them anymore, but in reality she is loving them by giving them the desire for change. Every movement they make becomes uncomfortable until one day they actually see the full picture. With some uncertainty but determination they spread their wings and the air lifts them and before they know it they are soaring in the heights with their mother.
Our heavenly Father just wants us to fly. He may seem like He doesn’t understand but He knows what lies ahead for us. Perhaps you are going through a time when you are dissatisfied with your life. God may be stirring your nest. It could be because the Battle of Maturity is ahead for you. He knows how to equip you for that battle. He will do His part and you will be required to do your part. Trust in Him today. Learn to wait in silence and peace knowing that God will provide.
1 Corinthians16:13 “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.”
Father, I pray for those who are reading this today that may have a battle ahead. Assuredly it is a battle that requires determination and faith. Bring that person to a place of maturity so that they may overcome. Help us to grow in you today.
-In Jesus’ Name, Amen
1Corinthians13:11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
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