|Posted on April 18, 2018 at 10:55 AM|
My neighbor’s mare just had her baby last night. Even though the birth was a week “early” according to the projected date of delivery, it was apparently right on time since both the baby and momma are doing great. Such events are an occasion of celebration for the Church in the Woods at Freedom Ranch. And we all look forward to watching the little filly grow into maturity. Due to her bloodlines and with the proper training we are expecting a fine “working cow horse” with the possibilities of winning a championship.
Such a celebration reminds me of what all of heaven does when a believer is “born again”. I’m sure the Father is proud of his new child and all the angels rejoice with him as they consider the bloodlines of a champion and the possibility of future victories. The joy of watching that child of God mature into the image of Christ must be even greater than that of watching a filly frolicking about in the pasture. The growth and training of God’s own child must be even more exciting and rewarding than raising a championship cow horse.
But what would happen to this newborn filly if, for some reason, she could not get the milk she needed from her mother? Or what would become of her potential to be a champion if she were never trained properly? The birth, celebrated as it might be, is just the beginning of life for this filly and her growth and development is dependent on her diet and training. While she has the genetic potential to be a great cow horse that potential cannot be realized unless she receives the milk and the proper training for her development. Sadly, such conditions are not as automatic or natural as the birth process and too many young fail to reach their full potential.
The same is true for the child of God. While being born of the Spirit is a supernatural work of God that gives eternal life to the human spirit, the process of spiritual growth and development is neither automatic nor instant. Although the potential is there at birth it requires the proper nourishment and training to be fully transformed into the image of Christ. The apostle Peter wrote in his first general letter, “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby…” to encourage us to receive the nourishment needed for our growth (1Peter 2: 2). The “milk of the word” he refers to is all that God says he has done to give us the “championship bloodlines” of his only begotten son, Jesus. It includes everything the Bible tells us about our new identity in Christ and the personal benefits of being loved of the Father and important in his plan.
In addition to the needed milk we must have the proper training to fully develop into the winner God has made us to be. Citing the example of Jesus, the writer of Hebrews warns us not to despise the “chastening of the Lord” and assures us, “For whom the Lord loves he chastens, and scourges every son whom he receives” (Hebrews 12: 5,6). This “chastening” is not punishment, but discipline and the training we need to develop fully into our potential. Yes, it involves suffering (no pain, no gain) and no it is not pleasant while we are in training. But the training process is vital for our spiritual growth and development and will produce in us the “peaceable fruit of righteousness”, which is the writer’s way of saying God’s training teaches us to live like Christ. Our heavenly Father has planned to make each one of us “more than conquerors” through the “milk of his word” and the training he has designed for our own benefit. Let us, therefore, “grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”