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My daughter played coach-pitch softball the summer she turned 4. The games were a hoot. The kids were just learning the rules, and there was nothing too basic for them to mess up. I laughed until I almost cried when one little kid playing in the field saw a coach motioning a runner to second base. The kid in the field thought the motions were for him and took off around the bases! I believe he may have even gotten home!

The mistakes were funny because the kids were little and weren’t expected to know much. Such blunders would have hardly brought chuckles from the fans at a high school competition. With age and practice, athletes are expected to get better — or else they lose their spots in the game.

We Christians are also supposed to get better with time. Though sin is never funny or even excusable, the Bible teaches that God expects less of beginners and more of Christians who have had time to mature. He is not at all pleased when his children continue to be confused about the basics when it’s time for them to be proficient in the Word of God. He cannot use us as he would like, and whether we realize it or not, we sacrifice our spot in the field (where we earn rewards) for a seat on the bench when we fail to take our Christian training seriously.

Let’s not make that mistake. Let’s set our hearts on things above and grow up in the Lord.

“To each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it … to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:7, 12, 13 NIV

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