Don’t you just love kids? Lionel Kaufman once made the statement, “Children are a great comfort in your old age—and they help you reach it faster, too.” Another man, Lord Rochester, commented, “Before I got married I had six theories about bringing up children; now I have six children, and no theories.”
It is difficult to say which of a child’s growth stages presents the greatest challenge to parents, but since infancy is the first, I will elaborate on it today. Have you ever been the victim of a baby’s “vomit attack”? Sometimes they have a hard time keeping food down, much less getting it in their mouths in the first place. They are messy. They have no manners or self-control. And they still melt our hearts.
Let’s suppose your infant made you the target of his next vomit attack. Would you disown the baby on the grounds that if he was really your child, he would have never acted that way? Would you tell your wife, “There must have been a mistake in the delivery room. I think we brought the wrong child home”? Not on your life. You would accept the child with all of his flaws and shortcomings because he was your own.
We ought to treat new Christians the same way, but this is seldom the case. A doctrine known as Lordship Salvation challenges the idea that new Christians can have flaws. It throws out the baby with his dirty bath water and charges him with not truly being born again because he still struggles with sin. This doctrine fails to realize that spiritual growth doesn’t happen overnight. While we cannot ignore sin, we must learn to accept new believers as forgiven sinners who are works in progress—just like us.
Do you know a new Christian who is struggling? Have compassion on him and show him the same grace God has shown to you. Pray for and disciple this person, with his spiritual maturity as your goal. He is Heaven’s child. Train him well.
Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still. — Chinese Proverb
Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.