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Who's looking out for you?

God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love—like Christ in everything. We take our lead from Christ, who is the source of everything we do. He keeps us in step with each other. His very breath and blood flow through us, nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, robust in love. (Ephesians 4:15)

Oh...grow up! Have you ever heard that said to someone? Perhaps it was said to you a time or two in the course of 'growing up'. What does it mean to 'grow up'? I am aware of individuals who 'grow up' in size, but not necessarily in intellect, emotion, or even spirituality. Sometimes our bodies grow faster than the rest of us - we look like we are all 'grown up', but we have limited experiences, untested theories of how life works, and are kind of 'green' around the edges. There seems to be various areas of our lives that can be 'stunted' in growth - not all grow equally, nor ever developing in some areas as well as we may have desired to develop. As a teen, I recall other girls in my class seemingly developing at great speed and there I was - looking every bit like a pre-teen and acting that way, too! My development hadn't reached their developmental stage - so I was kind of down on myself. All God asks of his kids is that we continue to grow - that we don't refuse nourishment that will help us to grow as strong and healthy kids in his kingdom. We may not all develop as fast as we would like, but God has something to work with if we are growing even a little bit!

To grow up in God's kingdom means that we stop holding tight to some of the lies we have believed in life and begin to see those lies replaced with his truth. What might some of those lies be that we hold on so tightly to? Perhaps it is the lie that we can live with a foot in the old way of living and a foot in this new way of living in Christ Jesus. That is a dangerous road to travel - the footing isn't secure and it will not produce the growth he desires. In fact, it will seem like others are developing all around us and there we are - not seeming to be developing at all. God has always required his kids to choose a path - not multiple paths. One path leads to life - the other to death. Choose one or the other - you cannot walk both and expect to grow up in Christ. Maybe we have been believing the lie that our 'sin' is really not all that 'big' and that compared to another's 'sin' ours is just not worth all that much attention. The truth is that there is no 'menial' sin - all sin is sin. Murder may be a big sin, but so is malicious gossip. Adultery is a big sin, but so is not being invested in the relationship you have been given. There is no 'degree' to sin, but that is a lie the enemy of our souls wants us to believe. Why? As long as he has us 'comparing' our sin to another's, he knows we will find a way to justify continuing in it. We walk two paths that are contrary to each other.

Keep in step - have you heard that one? In basic training we had to learn to 'march' in formation. It wasn't as though we were taking steps in the 'wrong direction', but we weren't 'in step' with each other. Some were on their left when they should be on their right. What was being taught there? I believe that being in 'sync' with each other is important - especially when it comes to prospering in relationship. We had to look out for each other - be aware of where the other was, what they were doing, what was around them, what dangers awaited them just around the corner. We don't just have good relationships with each other by accident. We 'keep in step' with each other. We also 'keep in step' with Christ. If two are agreed and moving in the same direction at the same pace - what a powerful force they will make. Growing and keeping in step have some things in common, don't they? We don't grow alone - we need to be spurred on to good growth. We need others looking out for us - watching our back, so to speak. We have one in the place of oversight in our lives - Christ. We also have each other - watching, helping, challenging us to keep in step, helping us to 'stay in sync' when we get our feet all jumbled up and our 'march' begins to be disordered. Disordered steps lead to disordered decisions. No wonder God tells us to keep in step! No wonder he places us in community to help us stay in step! Just sayin!

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