The Requirement of Spiritual Maturity
I’ve always loved praying for my friends and family. Every morning I write down who I’m praying for and many of you reading this blog have your names in my prayer journal. I don’t know that I’m the best person to be praying for you, but it’s what you have! LOL!!
My kids are very often the recipients of my prayers both during the morning and throughout the day. As they age I find myself praying for their character and spiritual maturity. I don’t want them to end up in college living off my faith. God’s strengthened my faith through the years, but it’s just enough for me. They will need their own.
As I was reading through the Bible a few weeks ago I ran across a scripture I’ve read a hundred times over the years and it finally hit me.
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
I highlighted a little bit of it for you. The world has trained us as parents to give our children a better life than what we had. And we want more and better for our kids. But we can be lulled into smoothing the way too much for them.
The Bible doesn’t offer a shortcut for maturity. We have a clear chain reaction here: testing and trials > perseverance > maturity. If we want our kids to ever mature in their faith, they must go through trials.
Those words kill my mama heart. I don’t want my babies to suffer. I want happiness and roses and sunny days. Their heartaches become my heartaches and I don’t want to hurt either. But what are we cheating our kids out of when we ease their suffering prematurely? What benefit do they receive when we short circuit their trials and provide cushy soft landings? They learn to trust in us, not God. Eventually, we’ll grow tired of doing all the work for them and maybe even bitter about it.
Please don’t mistake these trials as an excuse for ignoring or excusing abuse. I don’t believe it’s meant to be that way. As parents, we should protect and stand up for our children against many of the dangers of the world, but we should also be teaching them how to protect themselves so when they are adults they are mature enough to recognize trouble.
Moreover, we’re not just supposed to go through trials and testings in order to become mature, but we need to figure out how to find joy in it. Joy is that internal emotion that comes not from external triggers, but from knowing our God loves us, from knowing He’s going to bring good from whatever we’re experiencing.
Right now we are personally entering into the stage of life where we start to let go a little more every day. Our kids need to know we are there for them, a steady support in uncertain times. They also need to know God is stronger than even we are. They need to find their support and hope in Him. That only comes through allowing our kids to experience difficulties on their own.
I don’t like it. Not one bit. I’m writing this as a reminder to myself that the trials now aren’t always about me and my comfort. God’s working in my kids’ lives. In order for Him to grant my earnest and consistent request for spiritual maturity in my children, I’m going to have to let Him do the necessary work to get there.