I was very tall for my age when I was younger. I was quite literally head and shoulders above most of my classmates. My height caused a lot of people to mistake me for being older than I really was. One moment still makes me laugh. I am the youngest in my family. During the summer before my eighth grade year, I went with my family to Alabama for my brother’s freshman orientation at college. During the visit, I mostly stuck with my parents while my brother did the usual orientation stuff.
At one point, all the new freshmen students were supposed to go to one building, while all the parents and family were supposed to go to another. As I was walking to join my parents, an admissions officer stopped me and told me I was going to the wrong building. I was only thirteen, but he mistakenly thought I was one of the new students.
Being extremely tall for my age also created some awkwardness. I loved playing sports, but I was not always the most graceful or coordinated player on the floor. My coaches would always say that I would grow into my body eventually. I grew so fast that it took me awhile to get used to my new height. They were right, for the most part. I wouldn’t say I am the most coordinated person in the world now, but I have definitely gotten used to being this tall. It took years to adjust and grow into my body. I do still trip over my own two feet every once in a while…
I think our Christian faith suffers from growing pains as well. When someone puts their trust in Christ, they are instantly justified. This means that he or she has been made right with God. The guilt of their sin has been removed through Christ’s death and resurrection, and they receive the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21).
The problem is we do not always live according to our new status. We have been saved by grace, yet we still make mistakes and sin. We have been forgiven, but we still struggle with feelings of guilt and depression. We have been given this new body (2 Corinthians 5:17) and aren’t quite sure how to live in it yet. We keep tripping over our own feet. We are experiencing spiritual growing pains.
Over time, the Christian learns to live out their identity in Christ. Justification happens instantly. Sanctification, the process of becoming more like Christ, is a process that takes a lifetime. So do not be discouraged if your progress is slow. Don’t beat yourself up overtime you stumble and fall. Instead, get up, dust yourself off, and get back in the race. Remember, we do not earn our salvation and place in God’s family by what we do. Christ has already done the work. We can only receive it by faith, and live in response to the love he showed us on the cross. Eventually, by God’s grace and the work of the Holy Spirit in your life, we will learn to live according to our status as a children of God.