Today's passage: I Corinthians 3:1-9
It has been learned that babies should be talked to in a normal, adult-toned voice. I am not disputing this in the least. I believe that is probably right. But I have to confess that there is something about seeing those baby cheeks, that toothless grin, those wide, innocent eyes that automatically makes my voice sound high-pitched and allows non-sensical words to tumble out. Sure, I should not talk baby-talk to babies, yet it seems to be a language they understand because I am rewarded with the cutest giggles. Now my almost two year old is getting a little past the baby-talk stage. I have had to modify the tone for him. I talk differently to my adorable 10-month old niece than I do to my two year old. I talk differently to my 4 year old than I do my 2 year old. And I reserve even more adult talk for my almost 8 year old than I do the younger two. Not only the tone of my voice is different, but how I give instructions to them. I have been told that a little child will only remember the last word you say, especially when asked to do something. Keeping this in mind, I give my youngest only two or three word commands, he won't remember any more than that. My four year old gets a complete sentence, although only one command at a time. My eight year old can handle three or four instructions at once. For example, to my two year old, I might say: "Pick up the toys." For my four year old, I would say, "Pick up the toys and put them in the toybox." After that is completed, I would say, "Now return the books to the bookshelf." My eight year old can remember both of these commands at once, without having them repeated. He can make the list in his head, "Pick up toys, straighten books." Now if I were to talk to my eight year old the way I talk to my niece or my two year old, he would look at me like I was crazy. He would be a little offended. He would tell me, as he has on occasion for other things I thought still suited his age, that that is for babies. And he would be right.
God has to talk to us right where we are. And God doesn't mind adjusting His instructions and tone to fit where we are in our Christian lives, because some of us are farther down the paths than others, and some of us have just started. But there comes a time that if we have been on the path for a while, we should start to catch up with the Christians that are ahead. If we look around us and all we see are immature Christians (because they are newly saved, not referring to any character trait) we might want to think to ourselves, "Should I be a little farther along than this?" If people who were saved around the same time as I was seem to have developed more, maybe I need to take inventory and see why I haven't grown as quickly. I'm not saying that everyone develops at the same pace, even real babies grow at different rates, but if there is that much of a gap, I certainly should examine it. Does God have to still give me simple instructions, or can I handle the paragraph yet? Can I make the list in my head? How is my growth? If I want to grow, I need to eat more meat. There are only a few places to find that, in my Bible and in my church. If I'm feasting on a regular basis, I should find that I am starting to catch up. Right now, my two year old runs as fast as he can to try to keep up with his big brothers. He's not there yet, but one day his legs will grow stronger and faster and he may even pass them. The Christian life is not a competition, but it is a race, and I ought to want to be one of the fastest and strongest. I ought to be offended if God still has to use baby talk with me. It would mean I haven't grown as fast as I should.