War Babies

Ephesians 4:12 – 15 “to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may . . . become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.”

I have, somewhere in the depths of my dusty VHS collection, a video of one of Shirley Temple’s earliest films. It is a short film titled “War Babies,” and it is the cutest, most ridiculous thing you have ever seen. In it, these adorable babies in diapers are marching around with toy squirt guns, playing war and protecting the world from harm. It is cute because – well, what’s not to love? Chubby cheeks, enormous eyes, pouty lips . . . it just doesn’t get any more precious than that. But it is ridiculous because, honestly, the thought of a bunch of babies protecting the world is just plain silly.

Yet, all too often, we Christians choose to remain babies. We don’t do what we need to do in order to mature in Christ. The idea of many of us going to “war” for our Lord is just as ridiculous as that Shirley Temple film. We are too naive, too immature to offer any real threat to the enemy. When Satan sees a bunch of baby Christians trying to make a difference in this world, he must just laugh and say, “Awww, look how cute. The little babies are trying to play war.” Then, he sends in all manner of spies and enemies to lead us into defeat. Because we aren’t mature enough to know the difference, we are led away like lambs to slaughter.

But God wants us to be strong, wise warriors, not cute little infants. He wants us to grow strong in faith, so that we can make a serious difference in this world. One way we can do this is by speaking the truth to one another, in love. Imagine if a soldier were preparing to go to war, and he had some things he needed to work on. What if his commanding officer just said, “Good job, soldier. Well done.” The soldier would not learn what he needs to improve, and he would end up putting himself and others in danger.

But what if the commanding officer tore the soldier down, made him feel so inadequate that he lost all confidence in himself? That would not be beneficial, either. The soldier needs to hear the truth, in love. We can help others to grow by speaking the truth in love, and we will grow ourselves by humbly listening when others speak the truth to us.

The soldier will also become mature, ready for battle by simply performing the acts of war, over and over. It is called practice. In the same way, we Christians will become mature by serving the Lord through works of service. By practicing, we will grow in our faith. By practicing, and by lovingly speaking and listening to the truth, we will grow into the strong, mature Christians that God created us to be. Then, and only then, will we make a difference as soldiers, carrying His light into the world.

Dear Father, Please help me to practice my faith through service. Surround me with people who will lovingly speak the truth to me, and help me to humbly listen. I want to be the mature person You created me to be.


12 Responses to War Babies

  1. March 28, 2008 #

    This is timely, Renae. A friend asked me for advice about a situation in which she was offended by another Christian. She didn’t want a confrontation so she wasn’t going to do anything about it. I encouraged her to talk to the other person to resolve the matter, and she e-mailed me later that she was thrilled and blessed by the meeting that she feared so much. Had she avoided the issue, the other person wouldn’t have known how much he hurt my friend, and she would have missed out on being told some spiritual truths as well as on knowing how much the other person likes and respects her.

  2. March 28, 2008 #

    What a wonderful example of speaking the truth in love! All too often, we choose to skirt around the issues, and we miss out on opportunities to grow – both spiritually and in our friendships! Thanks, Lillie!


  3. March 28, 2008 #

    Thanks again for another great post – loved the illustration from the Shirley Temple film.
    You are so right – satan feels no threat from too many of us Christians because we are “babies” in the faith, by choice.
    Not the warriors God needs in this end-time battle between good and evil.
    And the verse about speaking truth in love: oh how I have learned the importance of that principle.
    I have never been afraid of confrontation but in these later years God has schooled me in how to do it right: in His timing and in His Love.
    I could write a short book just on the lessons I have had to learn in this department!
    God is awesome.

  4. March 28, 2008 #

    I think we all struggle in that dept., Judi. James 3:2 says, “If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man . . .”

    I struggle just as much with HEARING the truth in love, without getting defensive. But we all need to learn that others lovingly speak the truth to us because they care – not because they want to hurt us. It is only through taking instruction that we can grow.

    So glad to be walking this journey with you, dear sister!


  5. March 28, 2008 #

    thank you for your devitional from Eph.

    We are in a war zone spiritual and physical too. Only can march on with the Lord ‘s help.

    My electricity is very bad so have to be quick.
    Love, Amrita

  6. March 28, 2008 #

    Praying for your war zone over there in India, my dear sister. I wish I were there to wrap my arms around you and pray with you in person. But since I can’t, please consider yourself hugged!

    Dear Father, Please be with Amrita, her family, and all the Christians around the world who are suffering difficulties and dangerous situations. Protect them, and bring them your peace.

    Please keep Amrita’s electricity up, too.

    In Jesus’ name,

  7. March 28, 2008 #

    I’ve book-marked you. Your devotional site, here, is very lovely.

    I have remarked to many folks since I can remember that if you say anything without love, you’re like an annoying, crashing symbol. No one can hear you, no one will want to hear you. I know that it’s in Corinthians. Well, I think it is, but I can’t be bothered to go look it up. I should be bothered to, but I think I’ll trust that your readership will know just exactly what I mean, because you have said so in this post in a wonderful way.

    I miss Shirley Temple films! Mum and I used to watch Good Ship Lollypop and others when I was just a tot.

    Jer. 29:11

  8. March 28, 2008 #

    Thank you, Sarah! The passage you refer to is 1 Corinthians chapter 13 – the “love” chapter. And you are right! It fits perfectly here, doesn’t it?

    Hope to see you soon and often! 😉


  9. March 29, 2008 #

    Well, I was just pondering what to reply and I clicked on ‘More about Renae than you will ever want to know’ and …..there’s a photo of you! I’m printing it out!!! You are as lovely on the outside as you are on the inside. E-mail is in composition right now.

    With all the excitement I have completely forgotten what I was going to say. I may be back……

  10. March 29, 2008 #

    Oh, thank you for the sweet compliment! As for forgetting what you were going to say, glad to hear I’m not the only one . . .

    Bless you, dear sister!


  11. March 29, 2008 #

    I still can’t remember what I was going to say, but I lit a candle for you.

    Go here to see it:


    Hope this link works – I fear we are as technically challenged as each other!

  12. March 29, 2008 #

    Jackie, that is one of the most touching things anyone has done for me! Thank YOU for my beautiful candle! I love it. I hope all my readers will go there and see how pretty it is. 🙂


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