Our son placed this lunch order when he was six-years-old. We may have been playing restaurant or I might have been distracted and he was trying to get my attention at lunch time, but whatever the case, it’s unmistakable what he wanted for lunch: pop, ches sandwich, slomee, marikool wiep, and mustrde.
Brian and I have laughed and laughed at this. Not only is this just the cutest piece of childhood memorabilia but this “order” is also a mark of genius! With only a kindergarten education under his belt, he sounded out the words and wrote this without any help. Plus it sounds like a tasty sandwich!
For a six-year-old this initiative and creativity deserves praise. But, I wonder, at what age would this stop being cute? Barring a developmental or learning disability, no one expects a child to stop learning at age 6. For most children by middle school this note would reveal a failure to learn how to spell. By high school, it would demonstrate disrespect for mom. At what age does it become pitiful?
The same questions should be asked about our spiritual education. Becoming a Christian marks the beginning of our spiritual life. We are born again as spiritual babies and have much to learn. Accepting Jesus is the beginning, not the end of our journey. As new Christians we crave understanding of who God is and what salvation means.
“Like newborn babies, crave spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.” – 1 Peter 2:2 NIV
We learn to pray at mealtime and bedtime. We learn to trust God to watch over and protect us. We learn what it means to escape hell. That is our kindergarten education. We can’t stop there…
“Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity…” Hebrews 6:1NIV
We must read and study God’s Word, the Bible, to understand all that Jesus accomplished for us on the cross. We must know what we believe and why we believe it. We must learn the wonderful truths of Christianity and we must teach them to the next generation. If you aren’t learning, how can you teach?
“In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature…” Hebrews 5:11-14 NIV
A marker that we haven’t moved beyond the basic elementary truths is that we don’t understand righteousness. A marker that we don’t understand righteousness is that we continue to think we’re good enough. We think that though we aren’t as good as we could be, we surely aren’t as bad as some other people are. The truth about righteousness is this: apart from Jesus Christ, we have no righteousness.
Have you moved into middle school? Do you understand that it was at the cross where Jesus’ perfect righteousness was exchanged for your perfect sinfulness. Are you living in His righteousness?
In middle school we just want to fit in, by high school we begin to understand more about who we are and we aren’t afraid to look different. Are you growing in understanding? Are you a different person today than you were when you accepted Christ Jesus? A marker of your spiritual growth is how different you are from the world around you.
“Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly – mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed you are still not ready. You are still worldly.” – 1 Corinthians 3:1-3NIV
Just as it becomes pitiful and heartbreaking if a child isn’t growing in academic knowledge, so to it is pitiful and heartbreaking if a Christian isn’t growing in grace and knowledge of Jesus.
“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” – 2 Peter 3:18 NIV
God’s Word is so rich that we can never grasp it all, but it is so simple that even a child can understand it. Are you continually studying to learn more and more about God? Are you excited to learn that you will never graduate because there is always something more to learn!