Thursday, April 09, 2009

“......Again, life, in all the forms in which we are acquainted with it, is progressive; feeble at the beginning, it advances gradually to maturity. It is thus in plants, in animals, and in the rational soul; and it is thus also in the spiritual life."
Charles Hodge.

When I read this piece this morning it brought to mind something that I have observed over the years but haven’t put it into words, so I’ll try now. This principle he describes above is often lost on new Christians, they come into the spiritual world, often with great enthusiasm, and they sit at the feet of preachers and read books written by people that have grown up and proved themselves trustworthy guides in spiritual things. The new Christian often has the zeal to seek the mature life, but within themselves they are still a babe, immature and feeble. Because of their zeal they are often put into positions that they are not truly ready for, or they measure themselves with advanced believers and become disheartened and often very discouraged. To make matters worse, sometimes there is a competittive spirit among Christians. The new believer doesn't allow themselves the grace that God allows to the feeble new believer and they become ensnared in impossible goals that can only be reached with time and growth. The very faith that gives them life can become bondage. This principle is easily seen in children that are given an academic challenge that is a grade or two above them; it is beyond their comprehension, and in children, beyond the literal growth of their brain. So try as they may, they will just become defeated and usually downcast.
But in adults we don’t recognize this as easily, although the result is the same.
The Bible encourages us to walk with the wise and pursue the highest goals, but one can only reach fruition with time and practice, stumbling many times, learning to lean on the everlasting arms that catch us when we fall over and over again.

Hodges goes on to say, “The gambols of young animals show an exuberance of joy, which those that have reached maturity no longer experience. But how imperfect is the organization of these playful creatures, how small is their power of endurance, how little their serviceable strength, in comparison with that of those who know not half their joys! It is not unnatural, therefore, that young Christians should feel a glow of happiness from the exercise of feelings, delightful from their novelty as well as from their nature, which those more advanced may have ceased to experience, in whom feeling has ripened into principle, and mere joyful emotions settled into a peace which passes all understanding.”

So, for everything there is a season, and coming to accept our season goes a long way in finding contentment. Through all seasons one thing stands firm; there is therefore, now no condemnation, to those who are in Christ Jesus.
Photo by Ali Kose


fcb4 said...

That is so true. Great set of thoughts and I enjoyed hearing you share more of "your" self in this post.

Mel said...

I'm glad you shared this, Fred. I, too, enjoyed hearing your explanation of these ideas. This isn't something that's normally talked about or preached about to anyone, much less young Christians. But it should be.

That picture is precious. In my heart it gives birth to feelings of being nurtured and cared for with the tender mercies of Heaven.

Happy Good Friday to you, Dear Fred! :)

HAINAngel2000 said...

I love this post, it is so true and this made me really think. Raising my children and has made me think about my oldest son Justen and some of the mistakes I have made, pushing him hard academically Justen is very smart and I have pushed him to his limits at times.
I think this post is filled with so much to learn from. Thank you for posting it

Matt said...

there's always a danger in thinking you've got something figured out isn't there? no matter how far down the road you go. And perhaps the further you go down the road the narrower it gets... at least we never walk alone wherever we are.

FCB said...

Thanks Eric, glad you liked this and I know it is a subject dear to your heart. Here's to learning "line upon line".
Love Dad

Hi Mel,
You're right, this isn't talked about much is it? Odd too, when you think about it, we all go through this, it is common to all Christians, and I doubt there is one Christian that has not gone through a season or seasons where they felt overwhelmed and.....less.
Often it leads to a works based faith, trying to measure up by accomplishing everything perfectly, only to fall into a heap, ensnared in the attempts to establish one's own righteousness. Not to imply the intention is wrong, only the understanding.
This could make another post.
God bless,

Hi Mary,
You hit on such an important subject, having adult expectations for a child. In the most extreme cases children have been robbed of their most carefree years by overly demanding parents. I confess I was far harder on Eric than the other children, he being the first child, but by the mercy of God I began to recognize it when he was still very young. (I'm not sure what his side would be:)

Now as a grandparent I may be overly indulgent, but not in my own eyes, I love to see children drink up those carefree years and squeeze all the goodness they can from them before life's demands begin to steal it away from them.
Love Fred

Hi Matt,
So true, but I think you have always been slow to think you have all the answers. I admire that in you. You make room for everyone, and so it should be.

By the way, Matt saved a woman's life this week, she was caught in a rip-tide and drawn out to sea, he heard her calling for help and paddled his surf board out to her rescue.
I know Matt, it seemed like nothing to you; but had you seen the act through the eyes of her father, you would take a little pride in it. I do.
Love Dad

Mel said...

Wow, way to go, Matt! That's awesome! Thank you for going the extra mile and putting yourself at risk to help someone in need.

Matt said...

i think any of us would do the same. besides that, for past trespasses i jump at penance.

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hi Fred :)

Very interesting post.

A clear deep analysis of what goes on in a new Christian's mind.

You will be astounded to know that even a very experienced person like Mother Teresa was assailed with doubts about God.

My congratulations to Matt for the timely act of courage and bravery in saving a woman's life. He is a hero to be emulated.

Best wishes to Matt and to you Fred
Joseph :)

FCB said...

Hi Joseph,
I have read that Mother Teresa had doubts and I think I will do a post on my thoughts about that.
God bless Joseph,