A Special Valentine
The earliest known recorded history of the human race was chronicled by the ancient Egyptians utilizing their imaginative and fascinating hieroglyphs. Remarkably, these early writing systems preceded pronounceable alphabets by more than a thousand years. (Of course, their catalogue of the events of “time” didn’t include Valentine’s Day, which didn’t come about until 273 AD with the martyrdom of Valentinius of Terni, Italy – or Saint Valentine as he is best known.) But the Egyptians were the first to think of life in terms of stages. They devised a calendar and began counting and calculating life in time spans as early as 4236 B.C., before which effectively nothing is known about man’s history except what God chronicled in the Bible. Why other peoples prior to the Egyptian dynasties did not record data (at least none that has been uncovered) or whether they visualized life in stages we do not know. What we do know is that, over the course of time, humanity – much like our progression from infancy through the stages of adulthood – has moved through a fairly predictable sequence of developmental stages. As knowledge increased, scientists, physiologists, professional counselors, and learned scholars in every field of endeavor have organized their findings in each progressive stage.
What does this have to do with you and me? With all of this emphasis on detailing every speck of knowledge and acquired information in other areas of life, why do we Christians often fail to note or pay much heed to our spiritual growth? In 40 plus years of ministry I have only met one individual who actually kept a spiritual graph. It might be noted with some degree of interest that through the Scriptures God provided a spiritual “graph” of His relationship with mankind – a record of man’s journey out of Eden to the return of His Son Jesus Christ. And throughout this Biblical graph, or journey, we see how He has dealt with man during each stage and, out of His great Love and Mercy, provided us with the spiritual instruction and means by which we can daily “grow up in the most holy faith.” (Jude 1:20)
For example, we can see examples of stages in the history of a Christian:
Stage 1: Our Rescue and Placement in to the Body of Christ (John 3:5,6; Rom. 5:8)
Stage 2: Christ Being Formed in Us (Rom. 8:11, Gal. 4:19)
Stage 3: Growing and Maturing (1 Cor. 3:1,2, Eph. 4:14, 5, 2 Peter 3:18)
Stage 4: Producing Fruit (1 Cor. 13, Gal. 5)
Stage 5: Enduring to the End (Matt. 24:13)
A great example of this concept is present in the writings of the apostle John, where he refers to several stages of Christian development: “…little children, young men, and fathers…” (I John 2:3–18). Throughout John’s epistles, the believer is instructed in how to progress through the various stages of development to Christian maturity. A believer may be seventy years old physically, but only a babe in Christ. Conversely, a Christian can be quite young and still be mature. Spiritual growth and early maturity come from a frequent and consistent study of the Scriptures, and applying them to one’s daily life. God has provided for every stage of our Christian development within the pages of His Word: spiritual, of course, but this also includes our continued mental, moral, and emotional development all of our life.
The goal of our life should be to mature in Christ until we, like Paul, can say, “For me to live is Christ.” (Phil. 1:21)
But when and how do we start on this “High Way” to Heaven?
How about today? I find most people do better when specific dates and times are at least mentally “etched in stone.” Or, you could choose this coming February 14th, 2017 – Valentine’s Day – to send the Lord a special Valentine’s gift. Say, a pledge to read the Bible on a frequent and more regular basis. Or perhaps offer a pledge to your church, a favorite charity, or help a missionary. Or, best of all, why not give God your heart all over again this Valentine’s Day, rededicating your life to Him, and as much as humanly possible, with the aid of the Holy Spirit, earnestly vowing that, from February 14th, 2017 to February 14th, 2018, you will truly and earnestly “seek His face” as never before. Are you married? Or have children? Why not talk to them and ask them to make this pledge along with you? “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow.” (Ecc. 4:9-10)
And if you have not yet experienced the fullness of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, may I suggest that you will not have a better time to come to know Him – and to empower your walk with Him – than right this moment.
Why not whisper this special prayer to Him, with all your heart, and He will meet you now: “Father, I seek you, and a complete filling of the Holy Spirit. Let this day, be the beginning of a new stage of spiritual growth in my life, one in which I enjoy constant daily communion with you, and one in which I am filled to overflowing with the joy and power and peace of your Holy Spirit.” Amen!
Meet the Author
Alan Bullock has a BA in Biblical Studies, a Master’s Degree in Biblical Counseling, and an earned Doctor of Theology. In addition, Alan is a Certified Pastor Counselor, a member of The International Association of Christian Counseling Professionals (IACCP), and also a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC).