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::Devotional:: ‘Spiritual Pediatrics’

June 17, 2010

When I was younger I had aspirations of becoming a doctor one day.  Specifically I wanted to become a Pediatrician to work with children.  As an expectant father, I’ve started to think a lot about the upcoming routine doctor’s appointments, the shots, the colds, and the checkups that are soon to be a major part of our schedule.  We’ll be monitoring the development and the health of our newborn child very closely in the coming years.  In thinking along these lines I began to think about the spiritual development of those who are born again in Christ.  I wonder what the body of Christ would look like if we focused on spiritual pediatrics?

One thing I noticed while serving in youth ministry is that the majority of people, parents and adult leaders, don’t want to entertain discussions about the spiritual development of their children and other students.  I’ve also come to notice that most Christians in general don’t want to discuss their spiritual development unless they are completely committed and motivated to grow already.  But what if we treated born again Christians the same way we treat newborn babies?  What if there was a set regiment of checkups and visits to a spiritual pediatrician just like there is for a physical pediatrician?  What if the spiritual health was tracked, monitored, and nurtured like the physical health is?

Now nothing says that my wife and I have to take our child to the doctor routinely once it is born, but I believe if we didn’t many people would consider us foolish for doing so.  Don’t you think?  Is it not foolish then to only focus on the physical development of a child and not the spiritual development with the same level of purpose and intensity?  Understand here that I am speaking of both a child in age and a child in Christ (of any age).  I wonder what the body of Christ would look like if parents adopted this mentality for their children and churches adopted this mentality for the newborn believers within their congregation?

I believe spiritual growth is the single greatest expectation the Lord places upon our lives as believers.  It is whole heartedly the Lord’s desire to see us become more and more like him.

5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.  Colossians 3:5-10

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the LORD forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.  Colossians 3:12-15

The Apostle Paul instructed believers in Ephesus saying, “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:1-2)  There is our spiritual growth goal, to be an imitator of God.  To be conformed to the image of Christ.  To be more like Christ today than we were yesterday.

I know the concept of a spiritual pediatrician is a bit far-fetched, but I just wonder what would change in our lives, the lives of our children, and the lives of the body of believers if we had a mindset of spiritual growth along those lines?

-Stay Rooted Col. 2:7-

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