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Feb 13

The Road to Maturity – Part 2

If you recall last week we learned that there are three Greek words that describe our journey in Christ: 1)’Teknion’ meaning infant or toddler; 2) ‘Teknon’ meaning child youth or adolescent and 3) ‘Huios’ meaning son. In the second part of this three part newsletter entitled, “The Road to Maturity” I will explain what happens to us in the ‘Childhood’ stage and how we can overcome it and move toward maturity.

Letter From Camp.

Dear Mom & Dad:

We are having a great time here at Lake Typhoid. Scoutmaster Webb is making us all write to our parents in case you saw the flood on TV and worried. We are OK. Only 1 of our tents and 2 sleeping bags got washed away. Luckily, none of us got drowned because we were all up on the mountain looking for Chad when it happened.

Oh yes, please call Chad’s mother and tell her he is OK. He can’t write because of the cast. I got to ride in one of the search & rescue jeeps. It was neat. We never would have found him in the dark if it hadn’t been for the lightning. Scoutmaster Webb got mad at Chad for going on a hike alone without telling anyone. Chad said he did tell him, but it was during the fire so he probably didn’t hear him.

Did you know that if you put gas on a fire, the gas can will blow up? The wet wood still didn’t burn, but one of our tents did. Also some of our clothes. John is going to look weird until his hair grows back.

We will be home on Saturday if Scoutmaster Webb gets the car fixed. It wasn’t his fault about the wreck. The brakes worked OK when we left. Scoutmaster Webb said that a car that old you have to expect something to break down; that’s probably why he can’t get insurance on it. We think it’s a neat car. He doesn’t care if we get it dirty; and if it’s hot, sometimes he lets us ride on the tailgate. It gets pretty hot with 10 people in a car. He let us take turns riding in the trailer until the highway patrolman stopped and talked to us.

Scoutmaster Webb is a neat guy. Don’t worry. He is a good driver. In fact, he is teaching Terry how to drive. But he only lets him drive on the mountain roads where there isn’t any traffic. All we ever see up there are logging trucks.

This morning all of the guys were diving off the rocks and swimming out in the lake. Scoutmaster Webb wouldn’t let me because I can’t swim and Chad was afraid he would sink because of his cast, so he let us take the canoe across the lake. It was great. You can still see some of the trees under the water from the flood. Scoutmaster Webb isn’t crabby like some scoutmasters. He didn’t even get mad about the life jackets.

He has to spend a lot of time working on the car so we are trying not to cause him any trouble. Guess what? We have all passed our first aid merit badges. When Dave dove in the lake and cut his arm, we got to see how a tourniquet works.

Also Wade and I threw up. Scoutmaster Webb said it probably was just food poisoning from the leftover chicken. He said they got sick that way with the food they ate in prison. I’m so glad he got out and become our scoutmaster. He said he sure figured out how to get things done better while he was doing his time.

I have to go now. We are going into town to mail our letters and buy bullets. Don’t worry about anything. We are fine.

Love, Cole

P.S. How long has it been since I had a tetanus shot?

Adolescence

As the above story shows, adolescent children can be very immature. Immaturity can be traced to inadequate parental training and the lack of discipline (see Proverbs 22:6, 22:15).

In 1986 Barb and I purchased a beautiful Labrador puppy named ‘Brandy’ from the local pet store. In a few months our little bundle of joy grew into a 60 pound bouncing ball that we could not control. Realizing that something had to be done I told Barb that we needed to enroll Brandy in ‘Obedience School.’

On the first day I showed up with Brandy expecting the school to whip her into shape. The head trainer worked with Brandy and she responded like a champion being showcased at a dog show. I was overjoyed by Brandy’s quick turnaround ‘until’ it was my turn to handle her. Instead of responding like a show dog she sat defiantly on her hind legs. I jerked her chain multiple times trying to show her who was boss but to of no avail. It was at this point that I had an ‘aha’ moment-Brandy wasn’t the one who needed training-I did!

If we are to raise healthy spiritual children we need to get trained and equipped to guide them through the challenges and difficulties of spiritual puberty. Like adolescents in the natural, spiritual adolescents sometimes conclude that they no longer need their parents. This is unfortunate because spiritual parents are the vehicle the Lord has designated to catapult spiritual children into their purpose and destiny in Christ.

When I was I was an adolescent I thought I knew it all. I rebelled against my mom and rejected her guidance even though I lived under her roof and needed her to pay for my expenses. I thought I was an adult but I was not.

Parental Encouragement

Two Sundays ago Hawaii born and Punahou graduate, Michelle Wie, won the U.S. Open. Her win at Pinehurst Country Club was her first mainland tour victory and fourth overall.

Wie burst onto the professional golf scene as a precocious child prodigy at the age of 13. Hailed as the next Tiger Woods she signed a 10 million dollar contract with Nike. She then briefly played on the men’s PGA tour failing to make a single cut in seven tournaments. Criticism and injuries followed as Wie failed to win a single tournament.

During this season Wie was tempted to slip into a deep pit of discouragement but her parents encouraged her to press through her challenges. After winning the U.S. Open Wie shared that she “owed everything to her parents”!
Don’t Run From Your Challenges and Difficulties-Embrace Them!
I think an adolescents’ greatest obstacle is their pride. Self-sufficiency or rugged individualism is a sure formula for failure. Interdependence, on the other hand, is God’s formula for success. Someone once said that it takes an entire family to raise a child. There is a lesson here: we must not and cannot become the person God intends us to become by ourselves. We need one another and we need spiritual parents.

When Michelle Wie began her journey on the LPGA (Ladies Professional Golf Association) she had the skills to succeed but not the character. Her parents made sure that she persevered through her decade long period of challenges because they knew in time, she would break through. If we press through our pain, in time, we will breakthrough too!

Adolescence for many, is a difficult season of soul searching, identity crisis and discouragement. Spiritual adolescence is no different. Adolescence is the stage when the Lord refines and purifies our character in the fires of pain and challenge. Psalm 78:72 says, “And David shepherded them (the people of Israel) with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them.” By the time David had become King he had developed the character and skills he needed to rule because had pressed through the trials and challenges God had placed in his path.

Closing Thoughts

In stage One of our journey God establishes a solid spiritual foundation through: 1) The Word of God; 2) Deliverance & Inner Healing and 3) Parental Protection. In stage Two God allows us to go through challenges and obstacles grow us in godly character and hone our skills. Next week, I will conclude this three week series by sharing about our ultimate destiny-sonship.
Having faith for an all Christian Hawaii!
Love and aloha,
Pastor Rob

Questions to Ponder:

1. Reflect for a moment and determine if you are in stage one or two.

2. If you are in stage one what do you need to strengthen the foundation God is building in your life?

a) More of the Word?

b) More deliverance and inner healing?

c) Spiritual parents?

3. If you are going through some kind of challenge or trial right now ask the Lord the following questions: “Father, what do you want me to learn from this season of difficulty?” “What are you trying to download into my character?” “What kind of skill are you honing?”

4. Do you run when difficulties arise or do you stick it out and persevere through? Why or why not?