Beth Moore - The Art of Growing Up - Part 2
Psalm 90, verse 10, if you want to jot that verse down so that you'll know where it's stemming from as I say these words. Psalm 90, verse 10 says this: "The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty". And what the psalmist is saying there is that, well, the average life could be around 70 years or maybe 80, if you're really strong. So, let's just throw that out here. Doesn't mean, I don't want anybody getting nervous if you just had your 70th birthday, because it's all about what God is doing. It's all about what he has got planned for you, but I just needed to throw something out there. What could we use as a measuring rod? And so since the psalmist said that in Psalm 90, verse 10, we're gonna go with it for just a few minutes.
Seventy or eighty years, just that lifespan that we might imagine living if there's nothing that happens prior to that time that ends our tenure on this earth. Seventy years, I did a little calculation, is twenty-five thousand, five hundred and fifty days, twenty-five thousand, five hundred and fifty days. Eighty years is twenty-nine thousand, two hundred days. Got these days, we're told, the psalmist in Psalm 139, every one of them known intimately by God before there was a single one. Two of our several ten thousands of days, we spent right here in this place. And if we would let him, what he would do here over 2 little days could affect maybe the next 5.000 days, maybe the next 10.000 days. Because what the Word of God would tell us, and we know this from human life, we know this just from the world, we would not have to have our Bibles to know this, that there is an arrival time, and there is a departure time.
The difference is the Word of God tells us that he knows exactly when it is, he knows exactly when our arrival will be and exactly when our departure will be. Jesus even said in the gospels, "Listen, with all your worry and stress, you cannot even add a day to it. So, just trust me on it". This stretch of time given to us, that between this arrival and this departure, we have infancy that usually covers anywhere from the birth to the first couple of years, and then we have childhood; these two that we'll really address tonight. Then we have, I guess you know where this is going was adolescence.
And then if you think about this as our, just a representation of departure, I want you to think of it as something sacred and not something morbid right now, something sacred, that in between this time is this thing we call growing up, growing up, and to grow up well, to grow up well. I did a little research about what happens after conception, and what I love about it is that so far, no matter what kind of medical advances have been made, they still cannot tell whether a woman is expecting a baby right at first in those first couple of days. Only God knows. Don't you think it's a beautiful thing that he reserves the right to be the only person in the universe that knows you even exist?
There's this little secret, and it's just his, and nobody else knows it. You know what else I found out? That on day 18, that heart goes boop! Thump, thump, thump, thump, thump, out of nowhere, out of nowhere. Seventeen days after conception, suddenly, right at day eighteen, maybe a little bit of variance either way, boom, a heart starts beating. At the three-week period, I want you to look, if you've got a pen in your hand, I want you to look at the end of your pen, because at the end of three weeks, you would be the size of the end of your pen, heart beatin', boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. Precious, sacred to God. Mom probably figuring it out by now.
I want every single one of you in this room to just put your sweet little hand right on your neck, and I want you to feel your pulse. Feel it? You alive? As long as you've got a pulse, you have got a purpose here on planet Earth. No matter how old you are, no matter how long you've been, no matter where you think, "Listen, I've done my thing. I'm retired now". This is not about what the world does with a vocation and work. We're talking about the things of the faith, and we're gonna learn in the Scriptures that we are not grown up. We're not fully grown. We're gonna be grown up when we go up. Anybody hear what I'm saying to them? So this whole process, this is gonna be the beauty of it. The way that you and I will stay in the game all the way through until we're out of here is that we see it as a continuous process of growing up in him, growing up in him, learning, experiencing, ministering, being ministered to, serving, also knowing how to be served.
That's what we're talking about. We're at this stage with my youngest grandchild, Willa. She is just under 6 months old, and we're absolutely bonkers over her, I mean bonkers over her. It had been such a stretch of time. Her big brother is 10 and her big sister is 7, and then we've got this little, tiny thing that we all just stare at and we just pass around from person to person. I'll never forget when I asked Amanda, when she was a couple of weeks old, I said, "Where does she take a nap? Do you usually keep her downstairs, or does she go in her bed"? And I saw her look over at Curtis, and I realized that baby had not been laid down yet, and I thought, "Well, yes. This is what happens with number three".
Does anyone know? Does anyone know what I'm saying? So, we're just beginning. She's been having some solid food for right about a week and a half now, just a little bit of oatmeal, just a little bit of food. And what I can tell you is that really she swallows very little. She's mostly spitting it out. See, that's what happens in our infancy. I want to say to you out of 1 Peter 2:2, it says, "Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up to salvation". I just want to say something to all of us. Listen, milk's good to get started. Fundamentals.
People ask me all the time, "What should I start with"? The gospels, Jesus. If you're coming into a study of the Word of God and you think, "What am I supposed to do here? I mean, do I just, like, open it up and then just, like, land on the page? And I'm in a book I cannot even say". You want to get to that Habakkuk. You do. You want to get to Obadiah. But you don't want to name your son that. I mean, if you did, bless you, and I know he's wonderful. And I guess you call him Oba, I don't know. But I'm just saying that since we're believers this side of the completed canon, and we're called in Christ, that that is the basis of our salvation, that we have come to know Jesus Christ, that's where we wanna begin.
If I really want to know him, then I'm gonna go to the gospels; teach me about Jesus. I wanna to know about Jesus, and then I wanna know what else the New Testament says about him, and then I wanna know what else does the Old Testament say leading up to him? What was the history? What is the redemption story? Start with Jesus, and then start going west and east of that place, and you just watch the shadow of Jesus fall all over the Old Testament, and then all over the New, and from Genesis to Revelation you have a gorgeous, progressive revelation of the redemption story that is brilliant beyond imagination. But I just want to remind you, if you're an infant in Christ, praise God for milk. Just praise God for it. And start with it, and long for it.
Listen, what we don't want is for our newborn in Christ, their first syllables to be "eternal damnation". I just don't think those should be the first six syllables, "eternal damnation". I just don't, I don't know, I just don't think that somehow just does not, see, the thing about infancy is they're really only getting a taste of what you're feeding them. What are they tasting? This is what I want to say to us, not just as parents, in any way, in any way that we're in any kind of place of influence over young believers, are our infants in Christ getting to taste and see that the Lord is good, that the Lord is good? What are they tasting from us? What taste of Jesus do they get from our lives?
Want you to see this, because we're gonna move from infancy over here to childhood. And if we're gonna look at a childhood, I really felt like God was locking us in to 1 Samuel chapter 3, verse 1. "Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the LORD under Eli. And the word of the LORD was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision. At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his own place. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was". I want to give a little bit of explanation for the lamp of God not having gone out yet. This would've meant that it was prior to daylight, because what we're told in the Scriptures, and I'm gonna give you a place where you can go look this up. This would be in Exodus 27:21. The priests were to light a lamp from evening until morning.
So, if the Scripture is telling us the light had not gone yet, it was not yet quite near dawn. So here is Samuel, laying there, like, right, right before the ark of God. And we're seeing that... what in the world? I just want you to imagine this, verse 4: "Then the LORD calls Samuel, and he said, 'Here I am!' and he ran to Eli and said, 'Here I am, for you called me.' But Eli said, 'I did not call; lie down again.' So he went and lay down". Verse 6, "And the LORD called again, 'Samuel!' and Samuel arose and went to Eli". He didn't run this time. He just, like, now he's just going back into Eli like, "Why are you calling me"? "'Here I am, for you called me.' But he said, 'I did not call, my son; lie down again.'"
I love it because this time he uses an endearment, so that Samuel probably, I'm guessing, perhaps because he did not want Samuel to feel silly for coming in to him, but, "Son, I'm not calling you. It's not me". Verse 7, "Samuel did not yet know the LORD, and the word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him. And the LORD called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, 'Here I am, for you called me.' And then Eli perceived that the LORD was calling the young man". In Hebrew, that is "boy". "Therefore Eli said to Samuel, 'Go lie down, and if he calls you, you shall say, "Speak, LORD, for your servant hears".' So Samuel went and lay down in his place. And the LORD came and stood, calling as at other times, 'Samuel! Samuel!' And Samuel said, 'Speak, for your servant hears.'"
This is the way we have a leaning to do, especially when we're young, that we're always gonna run to somebody else, and then we begin to figure out, somebody begins to advise us. I believe the Lord's calling your name. I'm gonna tell you something. I feel like one of the most important things God wants to do among us this particular night is to remind us what we have meant to him every single moment of our lives, that he knew you were coming before time began, and that every single second of your life has been sacred to him even if you do not know him. Samuel did not know him personally. He's watching over that boy, came to a place where he called that boy's name.
I'mma tell you something. To so many of us in here, "grown up" bears an almost joyless connotation. It's about juggling bills to us. It's about trying to stay employed. It's about constantly setting an alarm that goes off while you're dead asleep. Maybe you just got to sleep. It's scrambling to work. It's going back and forth from this place to that, getting things done, if you're parenting or in childcare, it's picking up this one, dropping off this one. It's constant carpooling. It's coming home after an extremely busy day to a miserable mess and thinking somebody needs to pick it up. I hope we're gonna get a new perspective that may ease the angst of those realities, and those are realities, but there's another reality you've gotta know. And for just a couple of minutes, I want you... would you just please go here with me for a minute?
I want you to remember being a kid. You were one. You sat in something like a high chair. You were also really, really, really cute when your first little teeth came in down there in the gums. You were precious to him. You were sacred to him, every minute of it. You know, I've gotta say this to you. If you know Jesus personally, do you realize that somewhere along the way, just like Samuel, but with something beyond what physical ears can hear, do you realize that if you know Jesus, you actually heard him call your name? I looked up what it means to be called in the Scriptures, in the New Testament. "So then he called this one" or "he called that one".
And I realized when it came right down to it, it means this, if your name is Kimberly. "Kimberly"! That's what it means. Call. Call. Just, like, said your name, called you. And the beautiful part of it is, you did hear him. If you responded, you heard him. In a wonderful, miraculous sort of way, your even being here this weekend, even if you know nothing about him at all, don't even know if you're the least bit interested in him, actually, you have also heard him, a wooing, a summoning, an invitation. But if you know him personally, he called out your name, and somewhere along the way, in the moment of your salvation, you went, "Here am I. Here am I". Land on 5:1 with me. Ephesians 5:1 says this: "Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God".
I want to know, is everybody listening? 'Cause I'm about to say something to you I do not want you to miss, and it is not because I have got anything of any value to say. It is because I believe this is what God wants to say to us out of these Scriptures. And when we set Ephesians 4, where it tells us to grow up in every way into him, right next to Ephesians 5:1, I mean, just verses later tells us that we are to live as dearly loved children, grow up as dearly loved children, grow up as dearly loved children, that the whole time we're growing up, even if you are 85 years, you are a dearly loved child of God.
Here is what I want to tell you tonight, and here's what I'm gonna echo to you this weekend until it gets into somebody's bones. Listen carefully. You will never be a mighty woman of God if you do not know that you are a dearly loved child of God. See, oh, I'm gonna wait till that lands on somebody. Anybody, anybody a taker for that? Because here is where this differs, because you and I get to be children before him all the way through. And, in fact, if we are not, this whole thing will be missing such a component that we will never be healthy in our growing up, because what we're trying to be is women and men of God without knowing that we're dearly loved children, dearly loved children. You never outgrow being a dearly loved child.
How would a dearly loved child behave? Listen, a child that knows they're loved, they have a confidence that children that aren't so sure do not have. You and I cannot go back and relive our childhoods, but we have a redo with God. Make no mistake about it. What we could do today is say this: "I can't go back and live my physical childhood, but I know this. I can become a healthy child of God. I can know I am your child, that every time I lay my head down on my pillow, I sleep right in your presence. You know every single tear that drops from my chin. You know everything that worries me, everything that I'm afraid of. You know the responsibility that weighs on me, all the stress I'm dealing with. You are my Father, and you dearly love me as your child".
Listen, somebody. Now, I want you guys to hear this as we press into this place. Our perceptions of God need healing so badly. Would anybody in the house agree with that? Our perceptions of God need healing so badly. Do you understand with me? All the way through, all the way through the adolescence of our faith and going all the way over that, literally even when we are on our deathbed, we are dearly loved children of God. That would change everything for us. See, we think somehow, because we had a bully that was an authoritarian in our lives, God is a bully. Because people were supposed to love us and were detached from us, or they punished us or manipulated us, or they ran, this is one I know somebody is gonna resonate with.
Anybody just have people that they loved me plenty, but they also, they would just run cold and hot. Anybody know what I'm talking about? 'Cause you have people in your life like that right now, right now. You don't know when you get home, are they gonna be warm toward you or cold? Does anybody in the house know what I mean? That's not God. We're taking all that perception and we're putting it on him. We're saying, "I wonder if he feels cold toward me today or warm toward me. I wonder who I am to him today. Does he like me today? Does he approve of me today"?
As we continue to grow up in the harsh realities of life, we continue to grow up in our bill paying, and you filed your taxes or you filed an extension or you're worried that you didn't, continue to grow up in all the hard places. But have you continued to just grow up as a healthy child of God? Because the most important component of you becoming a mighty, mighty man or woman of God is that you know, in all the scrappin' out there, and when life gets you bloody and gets you bruised, that no matter what my external circumstances say to me, I am a dearly loved child of my God. He cannot be unbiased about me. He cannot detach his heart from me. He is not unhealthy. He does not run hot and cold.
I want you to see that Ephesians 4:32 that says, just before 5:1, "Be kind to one another, tenderhearted". It's giving the picture of being a child before God. "Forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you". I want to say this tenderly, I'm gonna say it passionately, but it does not come with condemnation. I have been here. I know the stronghold of unforgiveness. But I want somebody to know in this house, your unforgiveness has made you old. Do you know we will drop off years? I'm not talking about physically. That'd be a beautiful thing. We'll take that. I'm talking about years of our heart. It's about lettin' our bitterness and unforgiveness go.