Ah, I remember it well. Eighth grade year, riding the school bus to school. Starting to really feel my stride and the smart aleck quips were rolling off my tongue. I was having a blast one Friday morning. The bus was moving along. It was Friday…..I was feeling my oats. We were laughing and making fun, when all of a sudden everything went south. I always sat in the back of the bus, great place to comment on things. I never moved anymore than two seats up. On this particular morning, one of my friends had brought a science fair project that took up my usual seat, so, I moved up to the third seat from the back. A little unfamiliar territory, but it would be okay. On one of my more generous quips I leaned back too far and actually bumped the person in the seat in front of me. This girl was a lot bigger than me (as most girls were) and when I bumped her, she proceeded to grap my left shoulder, spin me around, and slap me on the face. She continued by saying, “you need to grow up!” The silence in the bus was deafening for what seemed to be hours, but in reality it was just a few seconds. “What will he do?” “Will he hit her back?” “You can’t hit a girl!” “But how do you explain the big red mark on your face?” “What to do, what to do…” That’s when it happened. Everyone on the bus, including Mr. Cope the bus driver, burst into laughter like a finely tuned choir. They started chanting, “You need to grow up, you need to grow up!” I melted back into my seat and took it on the chin, literally. We finally got to school, but I waited to the very last to get off. Why? Because of the embarrassment? No way. I was afraid the girl would deck me again. Point in case: You better grow up!!
That’s what you call a “wake up call.”
In 1 Timothy 2:20-23, Paul gives Timothy a “wake up call.” Paul reminds Timothy that there is always going to be good and bad. With Christ in our life it is our goal to shed the bad and accent the good. One dishonors and one honors. In verses 21 and 22 Paul stresses that we are like vessels that are filled with something. When we were lost, we were known as sinners, so we were filled with sin. As saved people, we are known to be forgiven of our sin, so sin should not be in our vessel. In other words, we need to pour out the bad and fill it with the new. That kind of vessel will be honorable to “who we are.” For some Christians this is a real “slap in the face.” “You mean I need to pour out these questionable things in my life?” Yep! Bummer. They may say, “I didn’t sign on for this. I just want to go to heaven when I die!” Point of reference: You need to grow up! In the same procedure that changed us from sinner to saint, we must turn away from the old way and run to the new. Paul says in verse 22, “Flee youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, with those who call on the Lord with a pure heart.” Can it be any more clear than that? A clean heart is supposed to continue to be a pure heart as it pursues the righteousness of God. The Word sanctification further stresses the point that holiness is what should fill our vessel. That holiness should grow more every day as we pursue that righteousness. It is the natural flow of the kind of life that is regenerated. Our human nature fights strong against this change, because it is usually so drastic. We make excuses to continue to be immature, thinking that “ignorance is bliss.” But it’s not bliss at all. It’s stifling. You can always tell someone who is fighting the “growing up” thing. They avoid spiritual discussions and almost make a mockery of spiritual things. They don’t have time for discussing the deeper things of life, much less live it. In verse 23 Paul pretty well pegs me from my earlier story. Paul says, “refuse foolish and ignorant speculations knowing they produce quarrels.” When I was having my fun on the bus every morning, I had my audience and they put up with me. When I crossed the imaginary line and bumped the seat in front of me it affected someone else and the end result was a slap across my face. When people that are Christians relate to each other most things are very common. When a Christian starts to move away from those circles, the different, disagreeing viewpoint of a lost world will not so easily respond to what we are talking about when it comes Christ. Getting into fights with those people will many times only draw us into becoming more like them. Part of the growing up process is knowing your audience and how best to share what you have in your vessel. Self righteousness is always a self glorifying turn off. God’s righteousness through who you are leaves you more approachable and causes them to be comfortable around you. Remember the story of Jesus and the tax collector. Jesus didn’t compromise Himself by loving Matthew. Why? Matthew knew the love was real. Now that’s a grown up vessel. Oh that we would be more like Jesus in sharing our faith and growing up in the grace He supplies. Don’t keep playing the “religious games.” They don’t work. Don’t continue compromising the gospel by your lifestyle choices. It’s way immature. You need to grow up! NOW! The Bible is “just sayin!”
The Pilgrimage continues…..