The day our first daughter was born, it all began…milestones. We documented everything. It’s crazy how many “firsts” there are in the first year of life! Every holiday was a first (Christmas, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day, etc.) There’s also the first time she ate solid food, her first words, her first tooth, etc. And don’t get me started on the biggest milestone of them all…the day she became mobile! It was time to babyproof the house!
I also love how my youngest daughter is starting to communicate. She only has about 5 or 6 words that she uses correctly; but between that and hand gestures, I’m starting to get a little glimpse into her personality as well as her wants and needs. Did I mention that her words are incredibly cute? She asked me to go “nigh nigh” this afternoon. Yes, you read that right. My one-year-old asked if she could take a nap. Too cute!
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Does God get as excited about our milestones as we do for our children?
I believe He does. For one thing, the Bible tells us that there is great rejoicing in heaven when someone repents and gives their life to Christ. (Luke 15:3-10) In the parable of the prodigal son, the father is overjoyed and throws a party when the lost son returns home. As God’s children, I believe with all my heart that He rejoices over our milestones, both big and small.
Milestones equal growth. Every time I take one of my daughters to the doctor, they check to make sure particular milestones are being reached. They do this to make certain that my daughters are growing properly. In the same way, spiritual milestones are a clear indication that spiritual growth is taking place.
When a baby learns to walk, they become mobile and can do more things. When they learn to talk, they can communicate their thoughts, feelings, and desires. These are all important steps when it comes to growth and development. These milestones are what eventually lead them to independence and effectiveness as adults. Spiritually speaking, we can’t be effective without hitting certain spiritual milestones as well. We can’t be born again, and then choose to remain a helpless infant for the rest of our lives. We have to choose to grow.
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil. – Hebrews 5:12-14
I believe that God delights in us as His children, just as we delight in our own children. I look forward to my daughters’ milestones. As much as I love the stages of life they are currently in, I desire growth for their lives. I look forward to the day when I can have long conversations with my girls. As they grow, we get to do more things as a family as well. I love my babies, but I don’t want them to be babies forever. I want to see them grow into young ladies. In the same way, God longs for us to grow in Him.
Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness. – 1 Peter 2:2-3 (NLT)
I love how this verse tells us to “cry out” for nourishment. Just as a baby cries when she is hungry, we are called to crave the things of God in the same way. So what does the Bible mean by “pure spiritual milk”? I believe 2 Peter gives us a clear succession of growth. It starts with faith in Christ and ends with us being “productive and useful” as Kingdom builders:
Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in yourgodliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. – 2 Peter 1:5-8
As someone who has been a Christian for as long as I can remember, I know how easy it is to become spiritually dull and inactive. Know that God is looking forward to your next milestone. Just as we pull out the video camera every time our children do something new and exciting, God rejoices over our progress as well. Let’s choose to learn and grow and be effective in our walk with Christ.
When was the last time you experienced a spiritual milestone?
*Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.