by: Jessica Bratt
From simple tasks like holding a spoon or taking a step to more advanced accomplishments like speaking, reading, or playing a musical instrument, human beings learn as they grow. Everything has to be learned. Spiritual growth, too, must be nurtured and learned over a lifetime. We simply aren’t born knowing how to be followers of Christ.
A classic story in my family recounts how my preschool-aged sister responded to a lesson on sharing in Sunday school. The teacher asked, “What should you do if you have two candies and your friend has none?” My sister exclaimed, “Hold them up high!” Shaping a child to be generous and loving requires effort and patience. These things have to be learned. Most of us are still at it. Attaining the “measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:13) is a journey. Like growing from infancy to adulthood, discipleship doesn’t have shortcuts. It takes time, we all need help, and there will be mistakes.
A person of any age can be “reborn” as a new follower of Christ. It’s amazing and mysterious. No wonder Nicodemus was puzzled when Jesus told him to be born again, not through his mother’s womb but by water and the Spirit (John 3:1-8). Thank goodness God loves us and works through us whether we’re rookies or seasoned disciples. I love how Maya Angelou expresses this—when someone says they are a Christian, she thinks to herself, “Already?”