Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. Thanks for many of your comments on my devotional yesterday. I am glad that the subject matter captured your attention and stimulated you to meditate. There are many lessons we can learn about our new life in Christ, as we going through different stages of personal growth. Sometimes we are too busy to engage our soul in spiritual dialogue with God. We don’t pause and think. We just accept Satan’s excuse for us: my soul is willing but my flesh is weak. As a result, we sink deeply into the black hole of narcissism or self-centeredness, and harvest only self-destruction without even aware of it. Therefore, it is important to take time out to meditate, and allow God to free you from Satan’s hidden traps in your life.
Adolescents exhibit the process of growing up into adulthood in a particularly vivid form. Their parents are unavoidably involved in it. Every parent of an adolescent is thus provided with a gift — It is a kind of living laboratory in which to take the data of growing up, work experiments with it in personal ways, and then re-experience it in an act of faith to the glory of God. Parents don’t always look at it this way. Not infrequently, they are heard to complain about it. Many stoically stick it out, assured by the experts that adolescence is self-curing and will be over in seven or eight years. They never open the gift; they never enter the laboratory.
But adolescence is a gift, God’s gift, and it must not be wasted in complaints or stoic resistance. There is a strong Christian conviction, substantiated by centuries of devout thinking and faithful living, that everything given to us in our bodies and in our world is the raw material for holiness. Nature is brought to maturity by grace and only by grace. Nothing in nature—nothing in our muscles and emotions, nothing in our geography and our genes—is exempt from this activity of grace. And adolescence is not exempt.
Apostle Paul reminded the believers in Ephesus, “No prolonged infancies among us, please. Well not tolerate babes in the woods, small children who are an easy mark for imposters. God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love— like Christ in everything” (Eph 4:14-15 The Message). Ephesus was a sophisticated city in Ancient time. When I walked on the ruins of this city last year, I marveled with their architecture and city design. They even had a beautiful library in the center of the city. Ephesians were not illiterates. Greeks uplifted education and philosophy. They were eager to learn new things. That’s why when Paul began his ministry in Ephesus, he daily engaged in debate with scholars and local people at their lecture hall, “Paul took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord” (Acts 19:9-10).
The problem with learned people or scholars is their sophistication. They are too complicated that they cannot make up their minds on simple truth and follow Christ with childlike faith. They are being tossed around by new theories and philosophies. They are like teenagers who are influenced by whatever new trends in the market or on Internet. They want to follow the trend and open to all kinds of sophistications and philosophies of life. The problem of Ephesians’ believers were like the teenagers’. They were being tossed around by different cultic teachings, and that’s why Apostle Paul reminded them to stand firm in their faith. We need to be equipped on the Word of God continuously. But we also need to accept the Biblical Truth by childlike faith. This balance is what adolescence needs to learn in their laboratory of life. Many of us may be still struggling in this stage of life even though we should be in a maturing age. It is time to grow up and pursue the whole measure of the fullness of Christ (Eph 4:13b).
Love you according to the measure of Christ,