“Raise that baby to be an adult!” These were some very strong and wise words spoken to me when our first-born daughter was only two weeks old. They were spoken by an older, wiser woman (who was actually, at that time, quite a bit younger than I am now). Spoken by a mom who knew that it is a great gift to love our children so fully that we would, from the very beginning of their days, choose to guide them towards adulthood. Guide these precious, tiny individuals towards wisdom and maturity, responsibility and compassion for others. And, for us as believers in Jesus, it also meant we were to raise up our babies in the knowledge and love of the Lord. With all that in mind, I added my own mantra: And raise that baby on your knees!
My husband, Tim, and I knew God’s Word declares that one day:
…at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord…
We knew that humility before our God was essential to do any of this baby-raising thing! We knew that, whether or not our babies would ever choose to be God’s babies, we still had a call on our lives to do it God’s Way – to raise them with lots and lots of God’s love, wisdom and help!
Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.
Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home
and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
Just as we are to raise up our own babies this way, it is the way God wants all of us to grow up as His followers, as His children – as the Body of Christ.
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child.
When I became [an adult], I put the ways of childhood behind me.
I Corinthians 13:11
Grow up. Set aside childish things. God’s greatest purpose for all of us is to grow up to be more like Jesus. God desires, and transforms, His children “to be conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29).
To be like Jesus is pretty grown up. To be like Jesus requires a child-like trust in our loving Abba and a willing, obedient heart to set aside all things childish. Our choices and actions should reflect our humility before God, our love for God, our Christ-likeness in wisdom, maturity, responsibility and compassion for others. As God’s babies on the way to adulthood – on the way to being more like Jesus – we should: Love others. Forgive others. Strengthen and heal our families. Respect and protect others. Give to others. Share what we have. Share what we know of God’s love and salvation. Provide for the hungry. Care for the hurting. Sacrifice our self-centered actions and attitudes for the sake of others. Live out God’s love, grace and truth, justice and peace, mercy and compassion in every way possible with everyone!