Every person you know, given the right set of circumstances, will disappoint you. Many of them probably have already! Who hasn’t been the victim of broken promises, or lying, or betrayal, or even abuse?
Don’t take it too personally. People are fallen, self-centered creatures. Even by human standards, we are all dysfunctional, unable to love the way God intended. So, in order to maximize the benefits of your various relationships, you must learn to keep your dependency on others in proper perspective.
Remember the training wheels that helped you to learn how to ride your bike when you were a kid? You must come to see people as training wheels, preparing you for something bigger.
In these relationships you learned the importance of telling the truth and of keeping promises; you learned how to find comfort and receive assurance; you learned how to serve and to be served. You also learned to look to people for affirmation and inspiration. This dependency was necessary for your social development and maturity.
But at some point, as you became more skilled, the training wheels began to scrape and bump the road, slowing you down. They also prevented you from leaning into the turns and enjoying the full experience of the ride. Training wheels are great for learning how to ride, but eventually, they will begin to hold you back.
Your dependency on people works the same way. At some point, you will discover that dependency on people has made the journey more difficult. Rather than just propping you up, you begin to see that the people in your life do just as much to hold you back.
No one enters the Tour de France with training wheels. Neither can you break free so long as you are riding through life depending on people when you should be leaning entirely on God. For it is only when the wheels are finally removed, and the drag and restrictions are gone, that you will finally be able to ride freely.
The hope and trust we have been taught to place in people finds its rightful place in God. Unlike people, God loves us perfectly. The comfort He offers us isn’t temporary or fickle, but eternal and sure. He will never lie to us, never betray us and never abuse us. He is our joy and our reason for living.
So, never forget, people are training wheels, God is the ride!
"This is what the Lord says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the Lord ... “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him" (Jeremiah 17:5,7).
At some point during childhood, most of us transition away from referring to our father as “Daddy,” opting instead for a more mature moniker, something like “Dad.” This change comes as a natural part of our transition from the dependence of childhood to the growing independence of adolescents.
But while we grow up to become more independent and leave home, spiritual maturity happens in exactly that opposite way. Rather than become more independent, the Spirit of God prompts us toward a greater state of dependence.
This was the Apostle Paul’s point when he wrote, “because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father” (Galatians 4:6, NLT). "Abba" is a term of intimacy and dependence. It is equivalent in meaning to our English title "Daddy."
God wants us to call Him "Daddy.” That means rather than saying, “It’s ok, Dad, I’ve got this,” the Spirit prompts us to cry out, “I need You, Daddy! He prompts us to say, “I need You in every moment.” He prompts us to say, “I need Your thoughts and Your wisdom to illumine my own.” He prompts us to say, “I need Your love, or else I am nothing.” He prompts us to say, “I need You to always be with me.”
Growing in grace means growing more dependent.
Wendy, who's fallen in love with Peter Pan, confronts him about his feelings:
"Peter, what are your real feelings?"
"Feelings?" he asks.
"What do you feel? Happiness? Sadness? Jealousy? Anger? Love?"
"Love? I have never heard of it."
"I think you have, Peter. I daresay you've felt it yourself…for something, or someone."
"Never. Even the sound of it offends me."
Wendy reaches for Peter in a loving gesture, and suddenly he runs away, shouting, "Why do you spoil everything? We have fun, don't we? I taught you to fight and to fly. What more could there be?"
"There is so much more," she answers.
"What? What else is there?"
"I don't know. I think it becomes clearer when you grow up."
"Well, I will not grow up! You cannot make me! Go home and grow up. And take your feelings with you."
There are a couple of interesting parallels between Peter Pan and the first-century believers in Corinth. First, like Peter Pan, the Corinthians refused to grow up. In 1 Corinthians 3:1-2 Paul wrote, "And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able."
Despite the fact that most of them had been believers for many years at this point, they failed to mature.
What was the cause of their arrested development? Just like Peter Pan, they resisted acting in love. The Apostle Paul, in an effort to jump-start their spiritual lives, points the Corinthians to the "most excellent way," an introductory reference to the famous "Love Chapter," 1 Corinthians Chapter 13.
Love is central to the process of maturity because it causes us to shift our focus from ourselves to others.
What about you? Are you a Peter Pan Christian?