We do not expect a newborn child to talk, to walk, or to do things to help others. A baby has the potential to learn to do all those things, but the learning comes slowly, in baby steps. When a little child begins to walk, she is very unsteady on her feet and will often fall.
Why then do we expect the new birth to make us mature Christians in an instant? A person cannot be born again until he is able to comprehend that he is a sinner. By that time he has walked and talked in the way of the world for some time and now he has to learn a whole new way of walking and talking. And those first steps are going to be tottering steps.
When a child gets converted at the age of twelve, as my daughter did, she is still a twelve-year-old in understanding. She will grow physically, mentally and spiritually all at the same time and we are not surprised that there are bumps and mishaps along the way. All we ask is that she get up again and continue making baby steps toward maturity.
When someone gets converted at twenty-eight, like I did, there are still going to be bumps and mishaps along the way of spiritual growth. Why should we be surprised at that? It still takes the same determination to get up again and continue making baby steps toward maturity.
When someone has been raised in a severely dysfunctional home and early learned to fend for himself, usually in ways that are outside the norms of society, then encounters the Saviour, the conversion will be dramatic. That does not mean that such a person is instantly a mature Christian. I have met one such person who was offered financial support to attend Bible School. But the school was far away and he did not have the means to get there. So he stole a car and drove to the school. It didn’t take long for the police to catch up to him. That was a dramatic, and painful, bump on the path of spiritual growth, but he recovered from that and kept on making steps in the right direction.
Jesus told His disciples: “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth” (John 16:12-13). He knew that even those who had walked with Him for three years were not ready for all that He expected of them. But the Holy Spirit would lead them, baby step by baby step, to be what He wanted them to be. Do we expect that it will be different for us?
Another man who had grown up on the streets and had found there was big money in making drugs found himself in prison for the second or third time. It finally hit home that as smart and sophisticated as his scheme had been, he still got caught, and he would always get caught. Then he was open to the call of God and surrendered his life. The change was dramatic, and real. When he got out of prison, his pastor advised him to wait several years before giving his testimony before large groups of people. That was Godly wisdom. Too many others have been thrust into the spotlight before they have really learned to walk and have remained babes in Christ.
It is the will of our Lord that we should grow and become useful in His kingdom. We will not be very useful if we try to run ahead of Him. May we let the Holy spirit guide us in making baby steps toward spiritual growth and maturity.