Saturday, August 9, 2008

NOT Growing and Maturing Into Butterflies

NORMALLY caterpillars gain over 2,500 times their hatchling weight before pupating into a chrysalis. What an amazing feat ... that humans do NOT want to duplicate.

They molt when their skin is too tight, crawling out of the old skin that had become too tight, turning around to eat it, then going on to grow more.

After growing and growing, they pupate into a chrysalis.

After a week or two have passed, the adult emerges to dry its wings and fly away as a mature butterfly.

But IF it has eaten growth regulator, intended to keep insects from becoming adults, it will stay a caterpillar until it dies. It grows to enormous proportions, far beyond their normal size, and finally dies.

As Christians, we are like butterflies. Caterpillars are children butterflies, chrysalises are teenager butterflies, and winged adults are simply adult butterflies. We, as Christians, grow from children to adults. Paul mentioned maturing in several of his letters.

As Christians, we can partake of growth regulator, dosed out regularly by our faithful enemy, the devil. He will feed us anything to keep us from growing into mature Christians.

Just like a caterpillar and a chrysalis is a butterfly (they are simply immature butterflies) so are immature Christians still Christians. Immature Christians are expected when they are new or young Christians. How can I be expected to be a mature Christian when I am a new Christian? As I grow in my walk with Christ, how can I be expected to be mature before I have had time to grow in Christ?

But in areas where I have had time to mature, I should mature. In the letter to the Hebrew Christians, the writer said that they needed to quit going over the same basics when they should be moving on to something other than basics. When we have repented (been so regretful for a fault or sin that we change our life so that we will not repeat the same faults or sins) we need to move forward and grow.

Jesus talked about how people allow the 'crowns and riches and treasures' to crowd out the Word of God and people do not mature. This is an issue I battle with; I find so much fun in the riches that God has given me (butterflies, cameras, and fields in which to wander) that I fail to spend as much time with God's Word as I should. This keeps me from growing. Oh, my knowledge of butterflies and moths grow, but my spiritual life doesn't grow as much as it should.

Paul wrote to the Christians at Corinth about childish understanding; he told them to be innocent when it comes to evil, but to be mature in understanding the things of God. We need to be mature in God and innocent in evil. God does not intend us to become mature in evil. Many people are very mature in evil. In another letter to these Corinthian Christians, Paul shared with him that he prayed that they would mature. It was that important to Paul. I ask that those who read this blog also prays the same for me, that I would mature in Christ and God.

Paul's letters to different Churches had different tones, according to their maturity. Just as we talk to children in one way, we talk to an adult in another way. We warn a child about guns; we teach adults how to use them properly. We teach children about dressing themselves; adults don't need to hear lessons on how to dress themselves, they know how to put on socks and tie their shoes!

Christian maturity; we learn from the Bible as well as from life itself about the importance of maturing and feeding upon the 'food' that fits our level of maturity in our Christian life.

Just as there are many levels of maturity in normal life, there are many levels of maturity in a Christian. Just as a child never grows six inches overnight, so a Christian should not be expected to 'grow six inches' overnight. Maturing is a process.

We need to be patient with each other and we need to be patient with ourselves. We need to remember, both about ourselves as well as about others, that God isn't finished with any of us until we quit breathing. We ARE Christians but we are not perfect in the eyes of other people or ourselves. We are perfect in the eyes of God when we have accepted the gift Jesus gave us; he took the punishment for our failings so that we don't have to do so.

In immature Christian is a Christian.
God never expects a new Christian to be mature.
God does expect a new Christian to grow and mature.

I Cor 14:20
Dear brothers and sisters, don’t be childish in your understanding of these things. Be innocent as babies when it comes to evil, but be mature in understanding matters of this kind.

II Cor 13:9
We pray that you will become mature.

Hebrews 6:1
So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding.

I John 2:13
I am writing to you who are mature in the faith because you know Christ, who existed from the beginning.

Luke 8:14
The seeds that fell among the thorns represent those who hear the message, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares and riches and pleasures of this life. And so they never grow into maturity.

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