There I was—fidgeting, enduring, gazing at the clock again, silently pleading its snail-paced little hand onward to the 3 while urging its friendlier big hand toward the 12 perched atop all the other numbers. This was the first grade, and all I wanted to do was play; whether recess, lunch or home, it did not matter—just let me play! One day while staring down my ticking tormentor, I thought, “I know school has twelve grades … and then my parents want me to go to college!” I slumped in six-year-old defeat. But what if somehow the clock hastened at my command and my curriculum became perpetual playground, my career aspirations ultimately rooted in recess? How far would tag, king-of-the-hill, and monkey bars have gotten me in this world? (Rhetorical question.)
We know the importance of preparing our children for life, and we do what we can—both at home and through school—to help them expand their knowledge, broaden their vision, and develop their capabilities, for the path to growth is largely through the mind. What we need to realize, as well, is that our spiritual maturity, which is of even greater consequence, also develops over time through understanding—both knowing about Christ and knowing Him relationally. Growing up “in the knowledge of the Son of God,” wrote Paul, we “become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”1 It is God’s vision for us that we steep ourselves in the truth of who Christ is and, knowing Him, become living expressions of His godly character. For through knowledge, the Spirit develops us and expands our understanding, so that we “may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power … and giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified [us] to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.”2
Like engaged and nurturing parents, God knows the Kingdom experience that awaits us, so He urges us to put monkey bars behind us, grow up in our knowledge of Christ, follow Him beyond the playground fence, and bring His powerful presence to wherever we are in the world. The clock is ticking.
Father, thank you for loving me and saving me. Help me to grow up in the knowledge of your Son, equip me to bear fruit for your Kingdom, and lead me in strength and joy into the world that awaits you today. Amen.
1 Ephesians 4:13
2 Colossians 1:10-12