Are We Contributing To Stunted Growth?

For years, I worked in Youth ministry, and often, when I'd see kids get close to an understanding Christ, and their place in Him, I'd hear "They're just not ready for that." Over and over again, I have seen it: parents stunting the growth of their kids because either parents were not ready to see them grow up, or parents sought to protect their child from anything they could, and so adversity was virtually unknown. It's caused a lot of trouble, let me tell you. I'm not saying this to put parents down, but I do have a challenge for all of us: how often have we contributed to the stunted growth in others? Here's what I mean: how often, when a spiritual issue arises, because we feel a friend can't handle it (none of us, can, really), we say or do something that has nothing to do with Scripture at all to put a band aid on it? Many of these people who we try to protect rarely grow in to the maturity that believers should be getting to. Many even leave church, because when the pressure is on, instead of building up and supporting, we've tried to protect, and it just gets too hard. Nothing in following Christ is easy; as a matter of fact, we're told we have an enemy who seeks to kill, steal and destroy. What sounds easy about that? Yet, we have a God who seeks to make us like His Son, to transform our old selves to become the New Humanity, made in Jesus' image. It's a marathon, not a sprint, and marathons are difficult! It requires training, discipline, and yes, the ability to overcome. So what should we do? We need to be steeped in the word, so that when our friends and family (in Christ and biologically) go through trials, we have an answer, both in Scripture and practice, that can help them grow. We need to seek the mind of Christ in all things, so that we are helping others grow and mature. And, much of the time, when God moves, we need to close our mouths and get out of the way. I do not want to contribute to stunted growth, and I pray you do not either!


Ephesians 4:11-32 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 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, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.


Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

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