giraffeLike newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. I Peter 2:2, 3

Large black hooves attached to spindly legs emerged from the giraffe’s birth canal. Soon a snout, then a long neck dangled out as the mama walked in circles. Three hours later, the calf tumbled unceremoniously onto the savannah grass. Within thirty minutes the baby was up and walking, an apricot and blonde patchwork masterpiece.

Eagles fly at twelve weeks of age, baby elephants follow their herd when they are three days old, and dolphins communicate with chirps, squeals, and clicks from birth. Comparatively, we humans have a long childhood. Some even suggest we are born too soon because of a mistake in evolution. We would have a higher survival rate, they say, if gestation were twenty-one months instead of nine. Try telling that to a pregnant mother. There is no mistake here, it is by design that we take longer to mature. God loves children. He delights in keeping us in the innocence of childhood for as long as possible. Nevertheless, we all need to eventually grow up.

I’m slower maturing spiritually than physically. I’m still underdeveloped and wobbly. It’s taking me a number of years to figure out that the glory we share with Christ in heaven will be proportional to what we allow him to do in us on earth. Therefore, maturing in our faith becomes as important as our birth into it. So I have only begun to use grace for something more than salvation and appropriate it into the process growing up.

Spiritual progress is the reverse of physical development. The older I get in Christ, the more dependent and childlike I should be in my faith. I am to return to the source of my life, suckle his nourishment, and hide in his protection thereby creating less dependence on me and the world and more on Jesus. That is a maturity I can strive for.

Prayer: Father above, grow me into union with you.


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