Meet Babykins. He's such a kind and warm child. He's also very determined. There are lots of lessons about life and our relationship with God to be learned from children. Babykins is learning to walk.
-1- Babykins' parents do not get mad at him when he stumbles. They are not disappointed that he isn't a perfect walker yet. They know perfectly well that he will learn how. They are very familiar with the whole "learning to walk" thing and understand that it is a process. There are no expectations for perfection. God is no different. He sent us to earth to gain experience and to be changed through that experience. He has no expectation for immediate perfection. That's the ultimate goal and reality, but certainly not even a possibility in the present.
-2a- Even though Babykins is learning to walk and focusing on that, he's still developing in other ways. He likes to make sounds and talk on the phone, to try new foods, and to play new things with his brother. His overall progress has not halted because he hasn't learned to walk perfectly. He'll learn. We're all struggling through our individual challenges. While they must be worked through, God can still help us learn and develop in other ways while we work on those things.
-2b- Focusing solely on our problems is unhealthy. It's not helpful or appropriate to identify ourselves as a problem or a concern or a behavior. Babykins is not a "learning to walk" or a "sometimes falls down," just as we are not a "temper," an "addiction," a "health concern," a "lazy attitude," or a "weakness." We may have some of those things; we are children of God. God's love for us and our relationship to Him does not change based on what we do or struggle with. Babykins will always be his parents' child. And they will always, always love him, no matter how many times he stumbles.
-3- The only thing that will keep Babykins from learning to walk is if he stops trying. If he got discouraged and lost hope that he would be able to learn to walk, and then refused to even try, he would never learn. But, he hasn't done that. Each time he falls, he just crawls to a desk or a chair and pulls himself up. He's even learned to stand up without any support now! For us, the only thing that will keep us from becoming like God and living with Him again is to get discouraged and to lose hope that the future can be different from our present. If we sit down and refuse to try to follow Christ and to let Him help us back up, we won't live with God again. All God wants us to give Him is ourselves. He has asked for our hearts. Along with our hearts comes our lives, our actions and decisions. If we will keep trying, I know that the Lord will help us. He does strengthen those who trust Him and in His ability to keep His promises. I know that, just as I know that we can be changed and healed as we just keep having the faith in Him to repent and obey over and over and over again.
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