As many of you know, there comes a time to take off the diaper and begin what has been conveniently called “Potty Training.” I always wondered why the word “training” was a part of that phrase. I never thought days (weeks) would go into teaching and practicing pulling up a pair of underwear. But now, I understand the “training” part of that phrase in a way that I personally never thought I would. The good news is it’s my two-year-old son training, not me. Or is it?
My oldest son is A LOT like me. He loves having fun, playing games, and enjoying his toys. He’ll play by himself in his room for hours on end. He doesn’t like to stop for anything. Well, since we have introduced this whole “going on the big boy potty” concept, his world has been drastically affected.
So there we were playing just 4 days ago, my son was having the time of his life, when all of a sudden he looked at me with the face of immanent concern, and I knew he needed to potty. He was so distracted playing that he either neglected to tell me or didn’t even recognize his need to relieve himself. Either way, when he finally said something, we were 3 seconds from what has been so gently called an “accident,” as if wetting yourself is like breaking an expensive glass vase at a neighbor’s house while throwing a football or wrecking your car in a snow storm on your way to Wal-Mart to get more butter on a night when the authorities have advised everyone to stay home. Like a complete moron, I asked my son, “Do you need to go potty?” He crossed his legs and began to shuffle to the bathroom, which answered my question. Urgently I ran behind him, helping him pull down his pants and get on the potty. About half a second after I sat him down he began using the restroom and I began my prophetic delivery of “training,” exclaiming with urgency, “Son, when you have to pee, you need to get to the potty as quickly as you can. We are trying to teach you to go on the big boy potty, so you don’t grow up peeing on yourself everywhere you go. Do you understand?”
In an instant, it hit me, as I realized, we are NOT training him to potty just to keep him from wetting himself later in life. Rather, this is a vital step to maturity. I think we would all agree that if a person still wets him or herself after a certain age/time, there is an issue with that person’s maturity level. In the same way, God’s sanctification process in our life is a vital step to maturity. God does not require us to let go of certain relationships, habits, jobs, friends, churches, doctrines, actions, feelings, thoughts, etc. just to keep us from sin or waste. He does it so that we might grow into the fullness of who HE has made us to be. It’s about maturity. It’s about knowing Jesus more deeply. Paul understood that fact as he wrote to the Philippian Church.
As we continue to mature, we must constantly ask if there are areas of our lives where we have not learned the basic principle of potty training, that is, counting all things but “dung,” that we might gain understanding of who Christ truly is. In what way are we living completely distracted by the things of this world, so much so that we either fail to recognize or we outright neglect our need to communicate our areas of weakness to the Father?