Susie says, "Daddy, how much longer till we get there?" She is trying to not dignify her brother's words.
"She's touching me!" Billy shouts again.
"You're so immature!" Susie responds instinctively. She lets out a deep sigh, and then says, "Mom, can we stop? I need to go to the bathroom. You know daddy, he'll never stop until we need to stop for gas."
Seeing his opening, Billy fires the dig at his sister next to him in the seat of their family minivan: "Smells like you're the one with gas to me."
"Oh, why don't you just grow up?" Susie can't help but respond.
"Oooh, and you think you miss mature?" Billy knows he's under her skin and is not about to let up.
"You two had better stop right now." Dad has finally had enough. "You don't want to make me have to pull over and deal with this?"
At this point, mom has steadfastly tried to ignore the predictable tacky banter, but has had enough. As she looks up from her book, she asks, "Anybody want to play the license plate game?"
This is the part of the family trip they don't show on all of those mini-van commercials. You know, the commercials where the destinations are fantastic, the children are happy and never bratty, dads are never cranky, the moms have perfectly styled hair, and no one ever needs to stop to go to the bathroom. At the end of the commercial, they are looking at the stars out of the back of their minivan, smiling happily. Of course, they don't have to deal with mosquitoes or sweat.
If we are honest, most of us get frustrated with the long trip before we get to our destinations. This also makes it hard for us in our Christian walk. We get impatient with our progress — or lack of it — as we seek to grow in Christ. We look for shortcuts and quick fixes. We'll grab the latest list of things to do or pick up the newest self-help best seller in an attempt to get there more quickly.
Spiritual maturity, however, is the journey and not a destination. There are no shortcuts. We know it's not a list of things to achieve or shortcuts to take, but a long trip to become like Jesus (Philippians 3:7-11; Philippians 2:5-11). Part of being spiritually mature is admitting we haven't arrived yet, but a journey to continue (Philippians 3:12-16). To help us get on the journey, we have the example of those who are alive with Christ-like character (Philippians 3:17-19). Our trip to become like Jesus can get a little rough when folks get cranky and we all get a little too impatient with ourselves and each other, but the destination is surely worth effort (Philippians 3:20-21). So let's remember our destination, and let's not give up on ourselves and those traveling with us!
How do you stay encouraged to stick with the journey and keep trying to become more and more like Jesus?
What do you read, where do you turn, what helps encourage you and help you restore your spiritual passion and remain on the journey to be like Jesus?
I'd love to hear from you on my blog: