On a recent drive home from visiting my parents in the Amanas we drove by the ADM corn sweetener plant along highway 30 in Cedar Rapids. When I was a child I used to think of it as a cloud factory since large billows of fluffy white steam pour out of the large towers into the sky making it look like it is producing clouds. So I have told each of my children the same thing when they were old enough to understand it. It seemed like a fun thing to imagine.
On this drive home however my youngest who is now seven piped up as we drove by and asked, “Mom is that really a cloud factory?” I heard the question but tried to ignore it. It didn’t work and he called out louder, “MOM, is that really a cloud factory?!” For some reason I didn’t want to tell him no. I felt a slight sadness that my youngest was old enough to realize that what we had pretended for so long was not really accurate. I wanted him to stay young and childlike. It was purely selfish. “Don’t grow up!” I was thinking inside my heart.
What a strange thing to feel. What if my son continued for years to think it was a cloud factory? It wouldn’t be so cute after a while. It would be downright strange; aging but not maturing. This made me think of Paul and what he said about spiritual maturity. In his letter to the Church in Corinth he expresses his frustration in regards to their lack of maturing in Christ:
But I, Brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not ready. 1Corinthians 3:1-2
The Church family in Corinth was still arguing amongst themselves regarding trivial matters. Paul goes on to state that there was jealousy and strife among them since they were behaving in only a human way; they were not gaining in spiritual maturity like they should be. They were handling things all wrong. He is calling them out as big babies! He wanted to give them solid spiritual food, but they hadn’t grown enough, he had to start back over with the spiritual basics (milk).
So what are you eating these days? Are you giving yourself a healthy diet of God’s Word and growing in your walk with Christ? Or are you being spoon fed the basics over and over again, one step forward one step backwards? You go to church every so often when you want to and only pick up the Bible occasionally. You enjoy the social times at church or special events but the Bible study is just not your style. You feel closer to God in the outdoors and not cooped up in a building with a Bible in your hands. If these last few sentences describe you, guess what… you may be a big baby. Knock it off and grow up!
God’s desire is for you to grow in knowledge and understanding of him. He loves you and has work for you to do. In order for you to grow in spiritual maturity you need a steady diet of the Truth found in his Word, the Bible. You also need to be around others who are spiritually mature and learn from them. Stop settling for bottles and go for some steak!
My response to my son’s insistent question? “Nope, that is NOT a cloud factory.”