I have twins who are now 24 years old, but when they were little, boy did they give us stories to tell! One time when they were about three, we were camping with a large group of people. Camping with three-year-old twins presented some challenges, one in particular, was safety. The way things were situated amongst this group of family and friends, we had several campsites some on one side of the road, the others across the street. My husband and I, being first time parents, were VERY concerned about our twins crossing the road unattended and being hit by a car. We drilled it into their little heads that they were NOT to cross the road without holding someone’s hand. We felt pretty confident that they would obey these instructions as we had repeated them numerous times and the kids were pretty well behaved. Well, they DID follow the instructions we had given them, which was good, I suppose…but apparently we were not as clear as we needed to be in our directions. I got word from one of our friends that the kids had crossed the street unattended. My husband and I quickly went to find out what had happened and reprimand them. When we arrived and questioned the kids on their willful disobedience, to our surprise and I will admit, amusement, we found that the kids DID hold someone’s hand while crossing the street…they held EACH OTHER’s hand! Two three year old’s, navigating their way across the street, deciding if it was safe to cross, each relying on the intellect of another three-year-old to determine their safety!
Then there was the time when the twins were about six and one day decided that they wanted to surprise me by helping me clean. In the past they had seen me use a carpet cleaning machine and apparently felt pretty sure of their ability to imitate mom. As it is with children, you know things are suspect when they aren’t blessing you with their constant presence, so I began to wonder what was going on. I looked upstairs to see their bedroom door was closed and figured I had better investigate. As I climbed the stairs I heard the vacuum running which quickly peaked my curiosity. I open their bedroom door to find one of them pouring cups of soapy water all over their carpet while the other was vacuuming it up with my household vacuum! Trying with all my might not to yell at them for possibly destroying my vacuum, I asked, “What are you doing?!?!?” Their reply, “Shampooing the carpet, like you do!”
So what is the point in sharing these frequently revisited memories? Well, many times in our efforts toward spiritual growth, we look to our peers to help teach and guide us toward the next step in our faith. This isn’t always a bad thing. It’s awesome to grow with one another, spurring each other on in our faith. We see many instances in the Bible, however, where we are instructed to look to our leaders, our elders, those more spiritually mature, to guide and direct us. Hebrews 13:7 tells us to “remember your leaders, those who spoke to you of the word of God. Consider (study),the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.” 1 Peter 5:5-7 instructs those of us who are younger to be subject (submissive or obedient) to our elders. Proverbs 13:20 says, “whoever walks with the wise becomes wise.” I believe these instructions are given to us, not only to guide us and help us grow, but also to protect us.
As was the case with my young twins, they believed wholeheartedly
that they had followed the rules and guidelines outlined for them when crossing the street. They felt confident in witnessing mom once or twice shampooing the carpet that they were skilled carpet cleaners. Had there been wisdom behind their knowledge, though, they would have seen, not only the err in their ways, but the possible danger or destruction (of my vacuum!) in the outcome.
You see, we can be progressing in our spiritual journey, perhaps in our marriages, parenting, or maybe in ministry, thinking we are doing the most godly thing possible. We may believe that we are following the ways of the Lord, but sometimes, like with my kids, we believe in error. Maybe we are new in our faith and don’t have the spiritual wisdom to pair with our Biblical knowledge. We may not have acquired that wisdom yet, but surely someone else has. The danger in going this alone is that we can be sometimes be led astray in our faith, deceived, without ever even knowing it. Even the spiritually mature can fall victim to the schemes of the enemy in deceiving us when weariness and the challenges of life take their toll. We are wise in both cases to rely on our spiritual predecessor’s for protection and support.
We also see in 1 Thessalonians 3:1-5 that Paul sent Timothy to check in on the Thessalonian church. They were still young in their faith and Paul was concerned that Satan had gotten the best of them. He held a valid concern that their faith would be weakened by all that they had been experiencing. Being that Timothy was stronger in his faith, Paul knew that it would serve the church of Thessalonica well to have Timothy clear up any confusion in their beliefs and also to strengthen them. This is a great example of leaning on our spiritual “veterans” throughout our Christian walk.
How many spiritual hazards can we head off by simply conferring with a wiser woman of faith? How much confusion can be dispelled over a cup of coffee with someone steps ahead of us in our journey towards eternity? I would say many hazards and much confusion! So today, I encourage you to put a woman wise to the Word of God on your speed dial. Call and arrange a lunch date with that older woman who you have witnessed walking closely to Jesus. It will not only bless you, it will bless her! Don’t we all feel especially valued when our wisdom is called upon and put to good use, when our experiences in life are not in vain, but have purpose?
There are times when we think we are imitating our Master flawlessly, as was the case with my twins and the vacuum, but in our lack of experience we may not realize our need for more instruction to perfect our “skill.”
The Lord has given us every tool we need to pursue Him wholeheartedly. First, He called our hearts to repentance and belief in Him. Then He placed His Holy Spirit in us. He gave us the Word of God. And in all His providence, He has placed wise counsel around us. Let us heed the example of Paul in Thessalonians and allow the spiritually strong to step into our world to strengthen, encourage and help us grow.