According to a 2014 Pew Research Center survey, over half of Americans (55%) say they pray daily. Women respond as more likely to pray daily than men do (64% versus 46%). With the majority of us women praying, we can logically conclude that there are many different types of answers we receive to our prayers. A Pearl of Great Value will be exploring a few of these in a seven-part series on prayer entitled, “When God Says ….”
Part 4 of 7
Absorbed in tending to my roses, I halted my activity when a slight flutter of wings appeared off to the side. Up in our blue bird house mounted just outside our fence was a baby blue bird perched in the opening. In the tree next to it, one of the parents was coaxing him along. Suddenly he took the plunge and flew out. Two other blue birds were next in line. The season in their juvenile nest was over, and it was time for them to grow up, spread their wings, and fly.
Just as the bluebirds had to leave their house to learn to fly,
God prods us on in order to march us toward maturity.
Are we so focused on ourselves, demanding our needs be met, rather than concentrating on who our Father is and the importance of others? Those made in the image of our Creator and greatly loved by Him. It’s not about us. But, many of us are entwined in a Peter Pan syndrome resistant to “growing up” in our thoughts and actions—the essence of an adult child who never leaves his parent’s basement.
In what areas is God thrusting you out of your comfortable, self-focused nest in order to get you to grow up?
- Selfishness—am I self-centered, attention seeking, living for pleasure rather than for others?
- Impulsiveness—am I shopping, eating, or drinking excessively with my emotions all over the board?
- Loose talk—am I gossiping, lying, embellishing the truth to make something appear better than it is?
- Blame—are my shortcomings and disappointments always someone else’s fault?
- Judgmental—am I continually looking down on others, with pride always getting in the way?
Perhaps you’ve been praying a bit, and know God is nudging you. Or, your conscience is pricking you. Like the gentle father He is, He desires us to mature and grow stronger in our faith. He wants us to put our childish ways behind us. 1 Corinthians 13:11 (NIV) exhorts us with, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a [woman], I put childish ways behind me.”
How do we grow up? First, we must make the decision and commit to maturing in Godly character. Next, take that step forward to strengthen yourself. Our Lord strengthens us through diligent study, heartfelt prayer, and worshipping together. When we tend to spiritual matters, we are able to develop and fly. A mature character displays honesty, fairness, integrity, and service to others—with less of us and more of God. And be encouraged for, “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6b, NIV).
While it will look different from plunging out of a birdhouse, perhaps God is stirring you to step out, join a Bible study, and dive into His Word more. Perhaps you need to commit to serving others and lending a helping hand within your church or community. Perhaps there are heart attitudes or lifestyle choices which need maturing. It’s difficult to take action when we’d rather not, but our Lord is there with us, urging us forward. It’s time to leap ahead.
Father God, Forgive me for my self-focused and self-centered attitudes. I confess I want what I want, acknowledging that you desire for me to leave my childish, immature ways behind. Help me to focus on you so I may grow up and in service to your kingdom. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
1 Corinthians 14:20 (NIV): “[Sisters], stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults.”
Ephesians 4:13-15 (NIV): “…until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.”
Colossians 2: 6-7 (NIV): “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”
1 Peter 2:2-3 (NIV): “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.”
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