An adult and a baby are in essence the same thing..human beings. Yet, their abilities, discernment, understanding of and response to the world around them is separated by a vast gap called growth. Likewise a spiritual babe and a spiritual adult. Please do not use the experiences of childhood as the yardstick of the christian walk press on .

As I kept thinking about this a number of scriptures came to mind. I believe they make quite a useful bible study…so basically my thesis is that God has made everything necessary for us to become like Christ not only in nature but in behavior and ability etc. The big deal about the baby and the adult is that there is a tendency to give up on God or the goal of Christ-likeness because we mostly  focus on our current situations instead of the word of God. We look at our shortcomings and failures in life, and when we “realize” that our lives  do not resemble Christ’s we end up saying something like this “lets be realistic “ when we actually mean “lets disregard Gods own words”  of course being realistic usually translates into slipping back down whatever paths we have come from.

I believe realizing that we have been changed in essence is essential (yes pun..or?) Not only that, we need to recognize and utilize (yes)the tools ,available to ensure proper growth.

 

God’s nature ,now our nature

  • John 1:12-13 (NET) But to all who have received him – those who believe in his name – he has given the right to become God’s children – children not born by human parents or by human desire or a husband’s decision, but by God. 
  • John 3:6 (KJV)That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 
  • 1 Peter 2:1-2(KJV) Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.

Peter lets us in on the fact that the old stuff has to go, he then gives advice to us.. baby must grow! and will indeed only if he drinks the milk.(extra refs :Matt 18:3; Rom 6:4; 1Cor 14:20; Eph 4:23; Col 3:8; Heb 12:1; 2 )

An analogy before i go on to the avalanche of scriptures. A new born baby can do very little for itself (actually nothing. Its whole survival in this world depends on his mother. Apart from the fact that it looks like a human being on the outside  it could very well be a puppy or baby chimp it can’t talk walk or do anything that we usually expect a man/woman to do but of course nobody complains because it is expected(it only becomes an issue if the baby remains like that)…

Now Paul while speaking about growth puts it this way… the child, though the heir of the estate is no different from the slave. A baby Christian has all the potential of Christ but could be quite similar to a non-Christian in  some of his/her experiences.

Even a ten year old child who can talk ran  or whatever like an  adult can still not do everything yet , there are still certain physical and mental limitations. A  10 year old simply cannot lift some weights just because of his age. But given the right environment and proper nutrition his physical and mental capabilities will grow. The same applies to Christian growth

In the verse Below Paul talks about growth but then he mixes in love…

love never ends. But if there are prophecies, they will be set aside; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be set aside. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part, but when what is perfect comes, the partial will be set aside.

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. But when I became an adult, I set aside childish ways. For now we see in a mirror indirectly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, just as I have been fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.(Cor 13:8-13 (NET))

[This is an essential aside]

I believe the whole point of talking about love here is to align our thinking to the truth that We must pursue love,love for God which  lead us to love men and women around us. Our whole growth process is  rooted in the concept of growth as children in a household(the kingdom of God )no parent wants children who grow in all ways except in love for them and the rest of the family likewise God.

But once again the thoughts come “do I really love God ..do i even want to love God and live for him..because as soon as i start claiming to love him then John 12:21 can kick in.. i have to obey his commands..some of which I disagree with..”Well the good news is that God has poured love into us via his Spirit ..so yes we  have love form God us ..once again is time to work on it.

True love for God is possible he has made arrangements

1John 4:7 (KJV) Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 

Rom 5:1-5 (NET)Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our LordJesus Christ, through whom we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of God’s glory. Not only this, but we also rejoice in sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance, character, and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. 

God’s Expectation

Matt 5:48 (KJV) Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. 

The plan was that bay allowing the Son to die many sons would be born

Heb 2:10 (NET)For it was fitting for him, for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 

More on the Provisions

Phil 1:3-6 (NET) I thank my God every time I remember you. I always pray with joy in my every prayer for all of you because of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now. For I am sure of this very thing, that the one who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. 

1John 5:4-5 (KJV)

For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? 

Encouragement for the Way

Paul was not there yet, I am not there yet ,you probably are not there yet but we still press on because we are assured that we begin to resemble Christ more and more for each second we look to him for help to move forward or to get up from where we have fallen.

Phil 3:12-16 (ESV) Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained. (God will progressively tutor us as well)

Heb 12:1-6 (ESV)

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”

Finally

1Pet 1:13-25 (NET)Therefore, get your minds ready for action by being fully sober, and set your hope completely on the grace that will be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed. Like obedient children, do not comply with the evil urges you used to follow in your ignorance, but, like the Holy One who called you, become holy yourselves in all of your conduct, for it is written, “You shall be holy, because I am holy.” And if you address as Father the one who impartially judges according to each one’s work, live out the time of your temporary residence here in reverence. You know that from your empty way of life inherited from your ancestors you were ransomed – not by perishable things like silver or gold, but by precious blood like that of an unblemished and spotless lamb, namely Christ.

He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was manifested in these last times for your sake. Through him you now trust in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

You have purified your souls by obeying the truth in order to show sincere mutual love. So love one another earnestly from a pure heart. You have been born anew, not from perishable but from imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God. For all flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of the grass; the grass withers and the flower falls off, but the word of the Lord endures forever. And this is the word that was proclaimed to you.

Authors remarks

I decided to write this note after reading youngthatiam see>>

There were so many verses &  issues popping up as i wrote so maybe i have left some references out  or started on some issues but did not conclude please feel free to make comments etc so we can discuss more. I hope that happens.

So in the last six or so months, I had been gaining weight. Now, if you have known me since childhood, your eyebrows would be understandably elevated. I have always been one of those skinny girls who eats whatever, whenever; one of those skinny girls forever standing before her mirror holding up and pushing up assorted body parts, imagining what she would look like when she finally grew some curves. I always thought weight gain would bring me some contentment- if I got a little more busty, or a little more hippy, I was sure I would finally be happy with my body.

Sidebar: When I was growing up, they had not yet invented the thigh gap. Smh.

When I got the chance to study abroad, I knew this would be my body breakthrough. No one lives in the UK for a year and comes back skinny, right? So, thrilled was I when finally, I could not wear size 10 trousers without a struggle; and thrilled I stayed when my shirts stretched out a little tighter upfront. I was still blissfully eating whatever, whenever; but doing a lot of walking (for budgetary rather than exercise purposes, mind). By the time I came back home, my newly filled-out bod and my lack-of-sun lightened skin gave me a zing of confidence.

Then I got a job.

Nobody told me that when my body gets used to walking at least thirty-or so minutes each day; I can’t just up and tell it to sit put about 9 hours a day without it freaking out a bit. Oh, and that in my mid- to late twenties, my metabolism would start taking things easy. So ironically, it was after I came back home that I really started to gain weight; but it was so slow and subtle, I didn’t really notice at first. Earlier last year, I took up exercising- treadmill, aerobics, flexibility exercises or Zumba (about 2-3 times in a good week); in fulfilment of a promise I made to myself at 23 that I would get fit at 26 (please hold your applause- the only reason I made that promise is I didn’t realise how quickly three years would go by. Sigh). It was all well and dandy and I was about three inches closer to achieving a full split when tragedy hit: I took on a professional course; and suddenly, I had no time for anything. Worse, I was getting home late each night- very late and very hungry- so I would eat: banku, kenkey, rice, whatever. You guessed it- I had forgotten I was no longer in the prime of my metabolism.

Then people started to talk.

You know, I think one thing that would have helped a girl with body image issues is if observers could get organised. Like, form a union or something- have one meeting and decide once and for all, by majority rule, veto power or something:

a) Has she gained weight or lost weight?

b) Does it really “look nice on…” her or must she lose it?

Wishes, horses- I know. But people can really send mixed signals, charle; from the ones who say, “Ei, Nana Yaa, way3 k3se o… but 3fata wo” to the one aunt who compared me to my formerly overweight sister and suggested that she had probably passed on her weight to me (true story)… if you’re uncertain about how to address sudden weight gain in someone you know, here are a few suggestions:

IF you have that kind of rapport with them:

a) Find out how they feel about it. If they are unwilling to talk about it, leave it alone. If they express some negative feeling about their bodies, share your experience if you have had your own weight/body issues. Solidarity helps.

b) If you have not had your own weight/body issues, try to do more listening than talking, for it’s hard to understand what being in that position is like.

IF you do not have that kind of rapport with the person:

a) Try to keep off the topic of weight gain, for you know not how damaging your teasing/comments/advice may be.

b) Talk to a tactful person who is close to that someone about your concerns.

In both cases, pray for the person. Yes, pray.

In my experience, I was already confused by what my body was doing- I didn’t know if I liked the way I looked or not. On one hand, I had always wanted to have these… ahem… assets- I felt like I finally looked like a woman- and yet I wasn’t entirely comfortable with that. I guess it was the fear that being a size bigger and growing, was just a first step down a slippery slope- that one day soon, I would wake up and realise I couldn’t see my toes anymore. Exaggerated, I know, but this is the sort of roller coaster ride I went/go through on this issue. Not to mention the panic point when I realised I was quickly going beyond being more endowed to taking on a distinctly puffy appearance. When you’re already dealing with all this, it’s not at all useful to have every Tom, Dick and Harry point out that you’re gaining weight.

So I finally got to my “This nansins must stop” point at the end of last year. Among the goals I set for myself this year, I added this: to lose 5kg and maintain that weight, by the end of this year. Easily doable, right? Right- because within 1 month I have already lost 3 of those 5kg- and I’m not on a diet.

What changed? Some attitudes and habits.

First, I started eating breakfast. A few months ago, I had the privilege of interviewing one of the nicest ‘important’ men I have ever met. He is the CEO of a thriving business in Ghana and he was so approachable that somehow, the conversation got to eating habits; and he explained to me that he currently has a pacemaker installed in his heart due to combined pressures of work and bad habits such as not eating breakfast. I was stunned. Not eating breakfast could be that dangerous? I knew it was bad but that dangerous?!? On my way home from work, I bought some sugar bread against the next morning, wai. Nobody had to tell me twice. I read some more on it, and found a popular saying which I loosely live by: eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and supper like a pauper.

I also faced the fact that I love eating- it’s not necessarily the food itself; but the act of eating. By Freud’s estimation, I probably got orally fixated or something (should explain why I couldn’t quit sucking my thumb for years and subsequently missed out on having perfect teeth- but that’s another article). Eating. I realised I find comfort in putting food in my mouth- so my cure was not in eating more or necessarily less, it was in eating slowly. The rationale here was this: if I could savour putting the food in my mouth, take the time to enjoy the sensations and flavours of the food, even pause in between chewing sessions to drink water or do something else- to prolong my enjoyment of the very ritual that is eating, I would be able to lay down the fork when my stomach got full, regardless of how much food was still on the plate because I would bear witness to myself that I had had a good run.

I divorced late suppers. I realised my romance with full meals in the evenings wouldn’t get along with my health and fitness aspirations; so I set yet another easy policy for myself: no cooked meals after 7:00pm. Guess what- in the last few weeks, I have hardly eaten after6pm. Basically, being able to separate my desire to eat from actual hunger, in itself, cut down my compulsion to eat quite a lot. It’s as if it’s now dawned on me that I can feel like eating and yet, not eat; and not die 🙂 Plus, if some particularly tempting food is available that late, I’ll rationalise that it will taste just as good in the morning and psych up myself to have a very kingly breakfast the following morning. If I’m truly hungry after 7pm, I have a beverage (usually hot chocolate), juice, fruit, veg or basically anything that does not require cooking (e.g. rice) and isn’t too sweet (e.g. ice cream) and that I like (e.g. hot chocolate :). My resolve has not been tested yet, but I have very slyly crafted the policy to exclude the occasional dining out at night; especially if a Chinese restaurant is involved 😉

On the exercise front, I realised a few things at my fed-up point last year: exercise and I would probably never become extremely fond of each other- so for now, I won’t aim to be one of those chiselled-out Zumba instructors- I’ll just aim to be fit. Fit enough that I won’t get so out of breath when I climb the two floors to my office; that I can occasionally sweat through at least 20 minutes of Jane Fonda’s beginner’s workout without quitting after 5 minutes and just watching the video. Before you judge me, please note it was barely 2 months ago that the closest I would get to exercising was putting on the work-out clothes and watching the entire video, telling myself I was mentally mastering the moves. Progress is progress, my friends.

I have decided, rather than obsess over looking a particular way, to focus on developing healthy habits with regards to food and fitness; and allow my body, however long it takes, to grow into those good habits and reflect the benefits thereof. I find that what works for me is not making sudden, extreme shot-term changes; but gradual, sustainable, little lifestyle alterations. And sometimes, I have to psych up myself mentally for weeks before I actually do it (e.g. getting all dressed up only to watch exercise videos for weeks, before actually starting to move). I hope I don’t fall back into the unhealthy habits I had before; but if I do, I pray God gives me strength to rally and press on. I don’t know how many people out there are like me- but the morale of my story is-

a) Be patient with yourself- DON’T give up

b) Make your goals achievable and review them when the need arises

Perhaps, most importantly, I am teaching myself to be happy with my body, just the way it is, at each point in time. I still stand in front of the mirror quite a lot, but these days, I make a conscious effort to resist holding up certain parts, fantasizing; but rather look full on at everything, just the way it is, and smile at how beautiful it is. Paul was no woman, but he sure knew what he was talking about when he told Timothy: Godliness with contentment, is great gain (1 Timothy 6:6).

I know that many of my heavier sisters would scoff at my experience and say, as many have, look at this girl talking about being fat; but the point is, it’s not really about what size a person is. The struggle in the mind to accept one’s body as beautiful, regardless of popular culture’s standards, is the issue. I may be nowhere near as big as you, but my struggle may be every bit as real as yours. The battle, as I have learnt, is mostly in the mind. For me, victory has begun with claiming for my body the pronouncement that God makes on all of His creation: “It is good!”

April 17, 2015 at 9:19am
The Setting:

A storey-building on the street adjacent mine has been occupied for the last four or so years by a church, or as I found out last night, two different churches. Noise has always been an issue; but this week has topped them all. Since Monday, we have been besieged by music, shouting, tongues; you name it (I wonder if my love for the worship song ‘Wrap me in Your arms’ can ever be restored; having been serenaded an off-key rendition for at least 10 mins straight- all this in the midst of dumsor. Lawd!). I had, each day, sent our housekeeper over to ask them to turn it down; which they ‘graciously’ did; until last night, when they simply did not.

I. WAS. ALL. KINDS. OF. FURIOUS

and

I decided to go over there myself.

Bad combination.

So I get there and meet, among other people, the sound director; whose demeanour was a study in apathy, more or less telling me he doesn’t think his church is noisy (note: we were standing in the street and every syllable of the music was clearly distinguishable). You see, I was already ticked off, to put it mildly; but this last bit of straw severed my only surviving nerve. Somewhere in my mind, an edict was issued: “Release the Kraken!” Boy, did I give the brethren hell.

I yelled at them; threatened them with police, a court injunction; stormed up the stairs and threatened to address the congregation. In hindsight, it is almost comical how about 4 young men formed a human wall to talk, argue, reason this one small girl out of entering the church hall- to do what koraa? Really, what was I going to do? #Occupythechurch. Hmm. The only good thing I can report from this episode is that it never got physical.

Realisation Dawns:

So in the aftermath of my display, I am here dealing with conflicting emotions: elation, self-justification, mortification, guilt, shame. Even after my ‘visit’, they only turned the sound down a notch or two, but I still felt much, much better. I am now realising it was not about making them bring the noise down. I wanted an outlet for the frustration that had been building up within me disturbance after disturbance- and last night was my opportunity to make some noise of my own. But just when I start to feel smug, two thoughts dawn on me:

1. I am a hypocrite.
2. I am a Christian- and supposed to act like one.

The hypocrisy first. For almost all my undergrad years, I was a staunch member of a Christian fellowship group. A very, very charismatic fellowship group. Our meetings were usually held in the evenings (Sundays and sometimes, weeknights as well) in a building just behind the residential blocks of our hostel… and noise was second nature to us. I repeat, we used to meet at night just behind students’ rooms- students, whose primary occupation is studying- and we were not shy about using microphones and speakers; whether or not everyone else was interested in our activities. Oh, I almost forgot- dawn prayer meetings. Each weekday at 5am (or was it 4:30am?), we would meet in the car park; in front of said residential block to pray. Not a bad idea- except that we would sing and pray out loud. Can anyone say ‘irony’?

I deserve every off-key wail my neighbours produce in the name of worship.

Having been on the receiving end of the noise, believe you me, I would do it so differently if I could do it over. Now, I am sorry. Too late, I empathise with the hundreds of students who endured the noise all those years. But the question I keep asking myself is: did I not notice, or did I just not care back then? I don’t recall any student responding to our noise the way I did last night; but I do remember my roommates commenting once or twice about being woken up by the dawn prayers. I respect them so much more now, for their graciousness. In my immature mind, I must have thought we were doing everyone else a favour- drawing them into prayer and fellowship with us- never mind that God had given them free will to worship Him at other hours of the day. Never mind verses like Philippians 4:5 (NLT: “Let others see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon”).

To all sound directors of all churches who read this (if you know one, please share this note with him/her): as much as you want the surround sound effect in the church hall, please spare a thought for the people who live close to your church:
Some have hectic careers and need the peace and quiet at home;
Some have babies and children who can’t sleep in noisy environments;
Some get migraines that are triggered when you suddenly start yelling and singing in the early morning;
Some have exams to study for;
Some pay incredibly high rent for the places they live and deserve the quiet just for that reason
Please take my word for it – or knock on a few doors and ask – the last thing people ever feel like doing, when your music invades the privacy of their bedrooms, is joining you in worship. In fact, I distinctly remember moments last night when I looked into those young men’s faces and felt hatred because of their hardheartedness; God forgive me.

***

Now, the second part of the realisation: I’m a Christian- or more specifically, I am supposed to behave as Christ did (unrepentant me replays last night next to the scene of Jesus storming the temple; but I know it’s not the same thing :). What results did my anger yield? Really. Did they stop making so much noise? No (the service went on well past 10pm). The only realisation they must have drawn from their encounter is that they had one crazy neighbour- and even that didn’t daunt them (brings to mind the Whatsapp proverb: “No matter how hot your temper is, it cannot boil yam”). And no matter what they did wrong:

James 1:19-20 (NLT) ” … You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires”.

Is James dialling my number or what? I could give you the history of my lifelong battle with my temper- but that’s another note. All I have to say, especially to my fellow hot-tempered Christians is: BEWARE. Rage is not a convenient little weapon for getting your way. It is a wily, potent force that will knock you off your feet and turn situations upside down before you know what hit you. Today, I am very reserved about asking the question, “How could those South Africans do that to fellow Africans?” because then I see myself storming up those stairs all over again. What was I thinking? But then again, throwing a temper tantrum is probably like being drunk – you never admit to yourself you’re out of control- or that your actions are just plain wrong.

I could so have handled last night’s episode better, I could have had a win-win situation, probably made a friend or two or even obtained a phone number I could call whenever they were being noisy. All I got out of it is the grudging admission that I acted the fool- that and a healthy respect for The Golden Rule (Luke 6:31).