My mind went back to my preschool days when I visited my grandparents in their train-car home. It was on a sidetrack in a grove of big trees and, sure enough, there was a rope swing with a board to sit on. Along with my aunt and uncle, who were only a few years (or months) older, I spent many hours in that swing, which could take me anywhere I wanted to go.
I wondered why there was no swing hanging from the limb of that big tree I gazed at this morning. Perhaps there was no one to swing — no child to dream — no children to play and laugh; maybe it would be a hazardous attraction; or perhaps it would be detrimental to the tree branch.
At any rate, my grandparents’ swing could only provide momentary pleasure for a child. It was meant for a child and he could dream of fairytale adventures, but when he quit “pumping,” the swing stopped and hung limply from the branch. The child would still be in the same place he started.
It was OK for children. But people grow up. No longer can they swing back and forth in the shade of a big oak tree, dream of glamorous places and accomplish anything. A person has to “grow up.”
In Hebrews 5, the writer talks about people who still operate in the realm of childhood spiritually. It’s time, the writer says, for you to be mature in the Lord.
In other words, “Why don’t you grow up? You should be grown-up Christians, not needing to go back again and again to learn what you have already learned. You should be grown by now and able to choose the right on your own. (It’s time you stopped swinging back and forth and fooling yourselves — not really going anywhere.) “Be real.”
In the sixth chapter, the writer of Hebrews shows his disappointment of his beloved, while at the same time, shows them what promises they could obtain. “... we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation ... we desire that everyone of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises” (Hebrews 6:9-12).
There must be vision — not just dreams.
For a young Christian to grow, he must have nourishment. And that nourishment comes from the Word of God. It’s not enough to just study the Scripture. The Word of Truth is revealed through the Holy Spirit so that it becomes part of a person through faith. That will produce spiritual growth.
In my growing-up years, my dad oftentimes had to remind me that I was the child and he was the father — especially when I ignored the “rules of the house.” The problem was that I was not old enough or mature enough to make my own rules.
So when I grew into that freedom, did that mean I could forget about rules. No, it meant that I would have the good sense to keep practicing by choice those good things I had learned, because, as I was taught those things, I was also taught reasons for the rules.
And there were many rules — sometimes my behavior warranted adding another one or two. Besides the basic rules of morality, there were rules of hygiene, rules about time, school rules, eating rules, sleeping rules — yes, there were many rules.
And I needed every one of them. I was being taught for the time when I would be older, and would have the freedom to make my own decisions. When I became a grown woman, did that mean I could forget them all? I still needed to get enough sleep. I still took baths and brushed my teeth and so forth. But now I am the one responsible — now I have the freedom to do as I please. So I choose to live agreeably in this society and still “go by the rules.”
It’s through practicing these truths that our conduct will honor Christ. A desire to please God and walk in His will is evidence of the spiritual process of growing up. It’s time to leave our childhood and move on for God with vision and understanding.