Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?

Lately I’ve noticed little things that reveal I’m getting older. Some of them include:

oldermanbirthdaycakeI find myself gravitating to the anti wrinkle section of the cosmetic counter.

I no longer have any idea what color lipstick I’m applying because I can’t read the small print on the bottom of the tube.

I walk into a room to do something only to discover I have absolutely no recollection of why I’m there.

However, I am thrilled to discover that the Bible shares there is a positive side to aging, “Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding?” Job 12:12. My bones and hair may be thinning, but I am not defeated. Scripture says I can “pump up” and my mind and become smarter than ever before.

On the popular TV show, “Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?” the questions become harder as the contestant progresses from 1st grade up to 5th. Is there a litmus test for a Christian to determine if he/she is growing up and getting smarter, or merely growing old? Here are a few suggestions based on Ephesians 3:11-16.

I can tell I’m growing as a Christian when:

Trials and temptations are viewed as an opportunity for growth.

This doesn’t mean I’m skipping through a storm pretending the pain doesn’t exist. It means I’ve learned that God can be trusted in the middle of a crisis, and I know he can bring good out of bad. I realize the end result may make me stronger than before, therefore, I hate the storm, but I love the results.

There is an increased awareness of areas of weakness and the tendency to sin.

Maturing in Christ doesn’t mean I don’t ever sin. It does mean that my radar is sharper, my knowledge of God’s Word is deeper, and my desire to obey God is stronger. When I’m growing in Christ and I find myself disobeying Him I quickly admit it, sincerely repent, and ask God to help me avoid this situation in the future. I must be willing to make sacrifices in my life if that’s what’s necessary to avoid sin. The passion to be free is fierce.

There is an eagerness to share what God is doing in my life.

If it’s been a long time since I’ve shared something about Jesus with another person, that’s an indication my relationship with God is in trouble. When I lack enthusiasm about my faith, God’s amazing grace, or the price it cost Jesus to save my soul, it’s time to take a step back and evaluate what’s stagnating my spiritual life. In my situation it’s typically busyness or a critical attitude that’s robbing my joy.

I recognize God owns it ALL

One day I finally realized that there isn’t a person, place or thing in my life that couldn’t be gone is 30 seconds. I have no ability to keep or control anything. God can choose to remove my husband, family, home, health, bank account and anything else he feels is wise. At first I didn’t like these sobering thoughts, but when I admitted that God is in control, not me—a huge burden was lifted. He has given me the privilege to be the caretaker of the people or things to which I’m entrusted. But I don’t own them. He does.

I’ve learned to dance with my Creator.

Many of my early Christian years were spent in an exhausting effort of performance for God. I kept trying to earn the love He has given for free. Fear kept me from accepting His cradled embrace, but His zealous love won out. I finally gave in and allowed Him to lavish me with the love I longed for. I let him whisper, “You are beautiful and precious to me. I delight in you, Laura. I am crazy in love with you and there is not one thing you can do about it. Relax, Beloved. I will never leave you. Never.” I can’t explain why he loves me, but I’ve learned that it’s true. Because I stopped performing, wrestling and resisting, now we dance like a bride and groom.

I don’t think I’d win a lot of money on the 5th grader TV show, but I am striving to stay as close to my Heavenly Papa as possible. He’s helping me to become a “wise guy” so those new wrinkles don’t matter as much.

Now—where did I put my car keys?

Copyright © 2009 - All rights reserved by Laura Petherbridge.