Thursday, August 17

Age Appropriate

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. --1st Corinthians 13:11 (NIV)

From my position on the couch I heard the wail of a siren. A moment later I heard rushing footsteps, followed by a vaguely familiar little tune pouring out of the computer's speakers.

"What's that all about?" I asked my husband.

He grinned at me over the laptop's screen and triumphantly declared that he had successfully tracked and captured the elusive Carmen Sandiego.

When Brad and I were kids, we both enjoyed playing educational games, one of which was "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego." The other night Brad found a way to play that old game in all its monochromatic glory on his Mac laptop. In a matter of mere hours he was able to move up through the ranks of gumshoe, agent, detective and so forth, to the point where he finished the game. We commented to each other how much easier the game is now that we are adults and have a firm grasp of world history and geography. When we were kids, finishing the Carmen Sandiego games took (for me at least) an entire summer and involved constant assistance from the gazetteer and almanacs provided with the game's software.

Capturing Carmen Sandiego as a 25 year old doesn't merit the same sort of congratulatory response as it did when we were kids. Adults are expected to be able to complete the game unassisted. Even the thrill of the capture isn't as exhilarating as it was when we were 5th graders. We have matured in our abilities to handle a challenge. We have also broadened our expectations of what should challenge us.

The same can be said of our spiritual growth. When we were kids, all we needed to know about God was that "Jesus loves me...for the Bible tells me so." The biggest spiritual challenges we may have faced as children involved learning a memory verse for Sunday school. As adults we face far bigger things, as is appropriate. The more we grow in our relationship with God, the more we are expected to mature in him. New challenges--defending our faith, fostering a godly marriage, raising children in the fear and admonition of the Lord--these are the age appropriate things that mature Christians are called to undertake as God sees fit.

Although we may sometimes long for the simpler days of being a young Christian, we need to remember that there is greater joy to be found as we grow and mature in our faith. We who have been faithful with the smaller things as children, are now called to be faithful with much in adulthood.

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