"I have learned to kiss the waves that throw me up against the Rock of Ages."What the purpose of those dreams were, I can't say for sure. But, I know that they caused me to reconsider and examine the way that I was reacting to the emotions I'd been feeling. This series of unpleasant dreams caused me to reflect on what I was doing, or even more, what I wasn't doing. Was I properly loving God through my struggles? Was I remaining and abiding in His Word? Was I willing to lay aside the weight of overwhelm and instead rest in God's grace and truth? God takes what is intended for evil and bends it for good. God makes sure that the waves that throw us toss us into His everlasting arms. Can we learn to kiss the waves that seem to seek taking our lives? Can we learn to love the things that attempt to rip us apart? Part of the Christian life, part of sanctification, is learning how to use all that life hands us and twist its arm into submission to the work of the Holy Spirit within us. This practice is a litmus test for our maturity in Christ. Whether we do or don't seek God and His purifying work in our difficult circumstances shows us the truth about whether or not we are acting as mature, adult believers in the resurrection.
"Then we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit." Ephesians4:14Scripture often uses the imagery of children to describe Spiritual maturity (1 Peter 2:2, 1 Corinthians 2:1, 14:20, Hebrews 5:12-13). Children behave as children, and that is a good and acceptable thing. However, children don't stay immature forever. They grow. They bear new fruit. They learn new things. What is alarming, though, is an adult who reverts back to childish behavior. If someone has made it into their thirties, and then suddenly begins to kick and scream in a tantrum when things don't go their way, onlookers can tell that something is not quite right. We cannot afford to stay as spiritual infants. We cannot afford to stunt our own spiritual growth. Directly prior to this verse, Paul talks about "growing into maturity with a stature measured by Christ's fullness." We grow in maturity when we grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. We become full when we feast on the fullness of God. When we grow to full stature in the Lord, we no longer allow ourselves to be tossed indiscriminately by waves or wind. When we are mature in our faith and ever growing in the Lord, the cleverness of Satan nor the cunning of mankind can move our sturdy roots. Spiritual maturity can look like a lot of things. It can look like memorized bible verses, or head-knowledge of cross-references. It can look like a dampened temper, or unmoving faithfulness. But maybe those first steps that catapult us from children to adults is learning to see God as Rock of Ages, the One to be thrown against when waves will indeed come, the surest foundation. Or learning to love the things that hurt us because they bring us to God, kissing the waves that rock and toss us. Or even simply learning that we've got much farther to go and grow in our maturity. Let's be believers who never outgrow maturity. May we never think we've arrived at the precipice of spiritual eldership. May we always grow closer and closer to the Lord 'til He calls us home to glory, all the while kissing the waves that sanctify us. Sarah Morrison is a staff writer for The Daily Grace Co.