Lenea’s soft, blond curls bounced as she attempted to steady her wobbling legs. With a deep breath, she took one step forward, followed by another and then she stumbled face first into our tan carpet.
Her blue eyes looked up into mine, as she pushed herself back on her feet. “Come on, Lenea,” I encouraged as she took another set of feeble shuffles towards me. With each practice, her smile grew larger with pride, and her distance continued to expand.
Walking is a learned skill that each of us at one time or another have acquired. Just like a child takes time to learn how to walk, the Christian walk is one where we must learn and grow.
I often find myself growing frustrated with my times of failure. “Eliza, you shouldn’t be getting frustrated with your sibling. Eliza, how can you be a Christian?” Criticism often echoes through my mind at each fall.
However, a Christian will fall. We are not promised an instant purification, nor are we promised that the Christian life will be a seamless experience, without failing and learning.
The Bible lays out that the Christian life is a process of maturing through the taking off and putting on.
The Removal of Flesh
“Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like 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.” (1 Peter 2:1-3)
If we long to grow as Christians, we must put off the traits of the enemy. Satan is the father of lies and death, and we must purpose in our souls to remove such behavior.
The Practical Behaviors to Add to Your Life
“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace...
So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ…
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.” (Portions of Eph. 4:1-15)
It is through the daily application of speaking the truth in love, being humble, loving, and showing the fruits of the Spirit, that we will grow.
Don’t be Discouraged
Reader, I encourage you to continually pursue Christ and righteousness. Don’t grow frustrated with yourself when you fall short of perfection. You will fall at times and must learn the basic foundations of Christianity before ever achieving advanced knowledge. Continue to take your feeble steps towards Christ. With each step and fall, He will continue to strengthen and perfect you if you seek Him.
“For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes.” (Prov. 24:16)
Just as a child must learn to crawl before they walk and walk before they run, you are also on a journey of maturity. Be patient and know that His love does not change due to your perfection or shortcomings.