S45P11 – Notes on discipleship: the patient will prevail

Luke 10:21-22

In that very hour He was overjoyed and rejoiced greatly in the Holy Spirit, and He said, “I praise You, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent, and have revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight.  All things have been transferred and turned over to Me by My Father and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal Him.”

She sat in the nursery holding her new bundle of joy. Only forty-eight hours old, he was small and precious. After a few more days, she noticed that he seemed to acknowledge and interact with her, so she decided that perhaps it was time to teach him to be a big boy. She started by giving him solid food, but he had no interest. She then thought that perhaps she could teach him how to walk. Unsurprisingly, he could not do this either. Undaunted by these failures, she decided to teach him how to talk. Of course, it was way too early for this as well. No matter how hard she tried, and no matter how smart he seemed, there were certain things that he just could not learn yet. She would need to wait for him to develop these skills.

This might seem like a rather silly example, but the point is one that we cannot ignore when we enter into a discipleship relationship. When we first come to Christ, we are spiritual infants. We have to feed on spiritual milk until we reach a certain development. After that, we move on to spiritual meet. In this respect, the job of the teacher is to remain patient. We cannot say that a person of a certain age or intelligence should be progressing at a certain rate in their faith. We must allow the Holy Spirit to do his work in his timing in each individual person. If we try to rush this development, it can be damaging to the student. Our focus should be on proper spiritual growth instead of quick spiritual growth. There is no timetable within which we must reach spiritual maturity.

It can be quite discouraging when someone tells you that you should have some knowledge you have not acquired yet. It can make you feel like you are behind in some way or perhaps not as intelligent or sophisticated as you thought. We have a habit of placing unreal expectations on ourselves and others when it comes to growth in any variety of areas. If we are not willing to be patient with our disciples, then we must reconsider whether we are ready to teach others how to grow in Christ. Jesus was gentleman enough to wait for us, and perhaps He would like us to exhibit that same patience. Father, teach us to wait on You as You complete your work while we help raise up our brothers and sisters.