It’s such a blessing to see children grow up in the way of the Lord. Just last Sunday, I witnessed a graduation ceremony of a batch of Sunday School students. I was invited to give a short graduation speech and to represent the youth ministry.
I can’t help but reminisce my Sunday School days. My classmates and I studied Bible characters, did arts and crafts, and played games. Joseph the Dreamer was my favorite Bible character back then.
During my younger years, the cartoon series Pokemon hit the television screens. It became an instant phenomenon. Every kid was into it. My friends and I collected trading cards and toy figures and played the GameBoy game. I was such a big fan of Pokemon.
Most Pokemons (which is short for Pocket Monsters) have the nature to evolve into another Pokemon when they reach a certain level. For example, the Pokemon Charmander (see photo below) evolves into Charmeleon. Then, Charmeleon evolves into its final stage, Charizard. Pokemons inevitably level up!
I realized that in life, we also level up. The Sunday School students have graduated and they will now “level up” to the youth ministry. Some of these students also graduated from grade school and will “level up” to high school. And in the Christian life, we also need to level up.
Hebrews 6:1 (NLT) says:
“So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds and placing our faith in God.”
The verse is telling us to go beyond the “basic teachings” about Christ. What are these teachings? An example of these is “repenting from evil deeds.” This simply refers to saving ourselves by doing good deeds. Surely we don’t need to do that because only by “placing our faith in God”—which is another example of a basic teaching about Christ—can we gain salvation.
I understood these basic teachings when I placed my faith in Jesus. I can still remember the day I surrendered my life in His hands. It was at a college retreat, April of 2006. In one of the sessions, the pastor called the campers to come near the stage if they want to start a new life with Jesus. I was one of those campers who came. I confessed my sins and asked for God’s forgiveness, acknowledged that I am saved by grace through faith and not by my own efforts, and offered my life to His Son. There, I became a follower of Jesus.
But I didn’t stop there. I have to go beyond the basic teachings. I have to leave my sinful habits behind and live a life that pleases God. I have to mature. I have to level up! That’s why the verse is urging us to “go on instead and become mature in our understanding.” So I left my life of cheating, cursing, backstabbing, and disrespecting my parents. I changed my ways and even started to practice the spiritual disciplines of prayer and Bible reading. And I have to do this to mature spiritually.
So let us not stop with the basic teachings about Christ. We must go beyond it. My point is simple: We have to mature, we have to level up!