We used to have a very large picture hanging in our family room. It was taken in the early 1980’s, Judy, our two sons and me. It wasn’t too long ago, I think around 2008, when we had friends come to the house for the first time.
After sitting in the room for a few minutes, one of the people asked, “Who are the people in the picture?” We said, “it’s us.”
During the 38 years since the picture was taken, we changed. I guess we were aware of it but I can’t say we had the reality of the change brought to our attention quite so directly. I like to think our appearances matured.
That was outward. But what about inward? How had we changed internally? “But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” (Hebrews 5:14) Paul teaches “…until we all 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…” (Ephesians 4:11).
While I believe outwardly we mature, the reality is we age. But inwardly – spiritually, mentally, emotionally – we must mature.
It’s fair to ask if someone who knew me 38 years ago, went away and returned, would they see that I have spiritually matured? Have I grown? Would there be a difference in my life? Would they say I have increased “to mature manhood to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ?”
We have responsibilities as Christians. We must grow. Are we increasing “the stature of the fullness of Christ” in our daily walk.
I have to admit that I frequently find excuses – even after being a Christian for so many years – to tell the Lord I’ll pray to him tomorrow or I just don’t have the time to dwell on Him. I wouldn’t say it to my wife, I wouldn’t say it to my kids. But I’m far to willing to say it to the one who gave his life for me, my Savior!
Maybe this Voice of Grace is part confessional. But Lord help me, I want to mature more. Join me in reaching for “the stature of Christ.” Let’s let people see change in us.
By the way, in 2013 it happened again with the picture. We moved the picture.
Ken Lont is Executive Director at Grace Redeemer.