My grandson Landon with his parents, my son-in-law Curt and daughter Katie
My grandson Landon is cutting his first teeth. Two little white pearls are emerging through his bottom gums. While the rest of us are excited about this new development, our little man now sometimes trades his winning smile for a little furrow between his eyebrows and uncharacteristic fussiness. It hurts. Even though cutting teeth will open up a whole new world of experiences for him and will benefit him tremendously in the long run, right now it’s painful.
The same can be said for our spiritual lives. The Lord says He is constantly working in our lives to make us more like Jesus (Romans 8:29). He works in our lives to grow character traits that manifest Jesus to a world that needs Him (Colossians 1:27) so that others might be drawn to Him (Matthew 5:16). But it hurts. Saying no to comfortable bad habits and desires of the flesh isn’t easy. How do we do it?
Relying on the power of God
First of all, we cannot overcome and grow to become more like Jesus by ourselves. We are told we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13). His power is meant to come into our weak places and move (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). His power is surpassingly great toward those who believe (Ephesians 1:19). The first step in “cutting our teeth” is relying on the Lord’s power instead of our own.
Obeying the voice of God
If we are truly serious about growing up into the image of Jesus, then we have to cooperate in that process and do what our loving Lord tells us to do. He knows our hearts better than we do (Jeremiah 17:9-10), and He tells us, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you” (Psalm 32:8, NASB).
Of course, we have to open our hearts to hear from Him and place ourselves in a position to listen with the intention of doing whatever He says. We can hear His voice in the Bible, as we pray, as we look and listen for Him throughout our daily circumstances, and in the gathering with other believers at church. We can better hear from Him when we place ourselves in a position to listen.
Rejoicing in the presence of God
Children often take on the attributes of their parents. It comes from spending time with them. The Lord tells us He is always with us (Matthew 28:20) and that He never leaves us or forsakes us (Hebrews 13:5). Unfortunately, we sometimes lose our awareness of His presence because of the world around us. We need to seek Him above the clamor of the world. We can do that by thanking Him for His presence with us, rejoicing when we see His activity around us, and speaking the truths about Him from His Word on a daily basis. As we focus more on Him as we go through each day, His presence becomes more real and intimate, and we grow in our relationship with Him.
Celebrating the purpose of God
No matter what we are experiencing, we can celebrate that our loving, wise Father is always at His work (John 5:17), accomplishing His will, which is always good, acceptable, and perfect (Romans 12:2). His plans are meant to prosper us, not to harm us, to give us a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11). At the same time, He wants to impact other lives through us in a way that blesses them and draws them to Jesus (Ephesians 2:10; 2 Corinthians 5:20).
That process requires growth, but we can know that, while we cut our teeth, the Lord is working in our lives that we might “grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ” (Ephesians 4:15, NASB).
One day, when his teeth are in, my grandson will get to experience more adventures in eating and better abilities in speaking. His teeth will add greater beauty to his smile and more depth to his facial expressions. His teeth will prove that he is growing up.
May our spiritual growth prove that we are maturing as well, and may that process bring glory to our beloved Jesus!
Question: How is the Lord challenging you and helping you to cut your spiritual teeth right now? Comment at the link below.
Susan Jane King