Devotional article for The Greybull Standard
and The Republican Rustler
Growing Up – and Growing Down
My youngest daughter celebrated her 18th birthday a few days ago, which means that all my children are now all grown up. And yes, it has appeared to me that as such it might be about time, to grow up myself – although my wife says that since that has not happened yet, it is probably not going to.
I can live with that. Me never having grown up is much less a problem for myself than it probably is for my surroundings; which is actually one good reason why I probably should not be so cavalier about it. Be that as it may.
The holy Apostle Paul writes about it; or rather, really, about something else: “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.” And elsewhere he writes that the purpose for which Christ has set men as Pastors in His Church is that Christians may attain to “the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine …”
Well, this really is about something else. And yet, it actually falls in line with what our Lord Jesus Himself has said, that “whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a small child shall not enter it.”
In the Kingdom of God, to grow up is to grow down! Mature manhood is to become like a small child. To give up childish ways is to give up our attempt at independence and emancipation, and acknowledge instead our utter and complete helplessness before God.
It has to be this way, because the Kingdom of God is always His gracious gift to the utterly helpless, given to us out of His goodness and mercy alone, on account of the righteousness His Son has earned for us with His perfect life of love, and with His innocent sufferings and death.
It is the evil one who has taught us that we should be emancipated and independent, so as to be like God in knowing good and evil.
As we learn to appreciate the salvation God gives to us, rather than look to Him for assistance in earning salvation for ourselves, we are set free to serve Him in doing His will out of love, because it is His will, and not because we have something to prove, to ourselves, or to others, or to Him.
I guess there is actually much to be said for growing up – or growing down, as it were.
Pastor Jais H. Tinglund
Grace Lutheran Church, Greybull/Zion Lutheran Church, Emblem