Isn’t it strange how past events create old habits that become part of our daily routines? Take my sleeping habits for example. Some time back when I was a youngster (around 7 years old) I watched a movie that I probably should not have due to its fear factor (sorry mom). It scared me…a lot. From that point on, my sleeping habits changed. I started doing things a lot differently out of fear of that someone would come into my room and hurt me. I wouldn’t even pull back the curtain to look out the window after dark out of fear that someone would be standing there, waiting for me. Irrational, maybe. But I lived to tell about it.
Here was my 3 part plan. Keep in mind that this is a 7 year old’s way of thinking:
1. Sleep on my back. That way, if anyone snuck into the room as I slept I would be able to spot them immediately. I don’t know what I planned to do if I saw them, but at least I’d see them.
2. Fold my hands over my chest to protect my heart. After all, we all know that bad guys (ghouls, vampires, monsters, etc) immediately go for the heart.
3. Don’t move. Worst case scenario, the invader believes you are a deep sleeper and chooses to leave you alone.
The funny thing is, I still sleep that way to this day. Lisa says I look like a dead man when I start to sleep. Even though my habits have changed, I don’t believe for a second that anyone is coming to get me. I outgrew that a long time ago. I promise. I sleep soundly and, unless it is a restless night, I don’t move a whole lot. My behaviors are the same even though I have “grown up” to understand that there is no rational reason for them being there.
As I laid in bed this morning (yes, on my back with my hands folded across my chest) I was thinking about this…and about how it resembles faith. The problem for many Christ followers is that our behaviors as adults still reflect what we learned from the flannelboard in Sunday School. (my younger readers won’t have a clue about what a flannel board is but that’s okay). Our understanding of God, of the Holy Spirit, of sin, temptation, trials and salvation are all based on something we learned way back then. Are you sure you’re ready for this next part? Much of what we learned was immature at best and wrong in many cases. I’ll pause and let that settle for second.
It may not taste good going down but think about it.
Do you still believe in the tooth fairy? Do you still believe there’s a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? Do you still believe there’s a vampire coming in your room at night to take your heart and…you get the picture. So why, when it comes to the most important things you can learn in your life, do you allow your faith to be based on childish facts and preschool lessons? Why do you try so hard to live out a faith that your mom and dad gave you without taking ownership for who you are and what you believe? Old habits die hard. It’s true. But you and I have been given the responsibility to grow in our faith and to mature in our understanding of who God is and what He really wants for us.
By this time you ought to be teachers yourselves, yet here I find you need someone to sit down with you and go over the basics on God again, starting from square one—baby’s milk, when you should have been on solid food long ago! Milk is for beginners, inexperienced in God’s ways; solid food is for the mature, who have some practice in telling right from wrong. Hebrews 5:12-14 MSG