Have you Put Away Your Bottle?

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I once saw a three-year-old drinking from a bottle.

Three.

Well, he may have been 2, but if so he was a BIG two.

He was too big for a bottle regardless. It struck me how unnatural it looked. It really stood out. It also made me think about how it must look when Christians don’t grow and still just drink “milk.” Or worse, if they go back to just drinking milk after eating table food. Only new Christians should drink milk:

“As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:” I Peter 2:2

Milk is important and everyone needs it, but adults need more than just milk. We wouldn’t grow correctly if all we did was drink milk without transitioning to solid food. If I stayed on just milk after turning a year old I wouldn’t survive. I certainly wouldn’t thrive. Just like it is noticeable if our body is growing correctly, it is also evident if we are growing as Christians.

I must eat food…better yet, meat. Once my children began to eat food they were never satisfied with just milk….and once they had meat there was no turning back! The same should be true for us as Christians. Milk isn’t a bad thing as we grow up. We still need it as we grow, we just need other things as well.

One of my daughters sucked her thumb, and we tried everything to get her to stop. She didn’t want to though and we would often catch her at night still sucking her thumb. Finally, she got old enough to realize how it looked and she decided she wanted to stop. She asked me to help her and we came up with a plan.

The deal we made was if she did not suck her thumb for 21 days (how long I had read it takes to form a new habit) then I would buy a new outfit for her American Girl doll. This was a big incentive for her. I never buy something like that unless it is a birthday. Also, if I caught her sucking her thumb one time we started back at day one. We hung the numbers 1 through 21 on little sticky tabs on her bookcase, and each night she got to take one down. It was a long process, but she completed it on the first try and has never sucked her thumb again. She was SO proud of herself.

What was the magic key? Her desire to grow up.

Which brings me back to the bottle: I can be eating food and drinking milk, but still not want to give up my “babyish” ways. If that little boy had been drinking from a cup, it would not have looked out of place. There are baby ways in the faith that I hang on to that I should be giving up as I mature in the faith.
For example:
– whining
– selfishness
– unthankfulness
– bitterness
– worry
– no self-control
– moodiness
– laziness
– being pessimistic
– impatience
– sharp tongued
….. just to name a few.

The longer I have been a Christian and the closer I get to Christ, the more I should be like him and show fruits of the spirit.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23

When breaking my children of childish habits such as: nursing, the bottle, a pacifier, the sippy cup, sleeping in their crib, or thumb sucking… it was hard.

It also took time, and it didn’t happen overnight. In fact, I knew to brace myself for a full out battle for at least three days. They fought me, they cried, and they whined. However, through encouragement and perseverance, I helped them take a step from infancy towards adulthood. Furthermore, if I helped them focus on what they gained instead of what was lost, each day became easier.

God does the same for us. He places trials and hardships in our lives, not because he doesn’t love us, but because he wants us to mature as Christians. He knows that sometimes he has to place things in our lives that makes us have a desire to grow up and put away childish things (I Cor. 13:11). Thankfully, God patiently weans us off the “bottles” in our lives and encourages us in our journey towards growing into adult Christians.

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