Ed is struggling to find his way to adulthood. He likes the cocoon of ‘home,’ though he says otherwise. He spends the day playing video games, lives off his allowance, and resists taking responsibility for himself. Some might envy that kind of life, I suppose, but who really would want to keep on living like a 14 year-old forever? (Yes, I know – many do!) Last week, when I was headed out the door to care for someone in need, Ed remarked, “You just take care of everybody, don’t you?” No, not really, but living maturely means that I get myself to the office on time, meet the deadlines that come with my work, make sure I have enough resources to pay my bills, and try to someone others can rely on.
The Urban Dictionary defines a word that recently entered our vocabulary- “Adulting”- as being able to “carry out one or more of the duties and responsibilities expected of fully developed individuals; such as paying off that credit card debt, settling differences without blasting social media, etc.”
Did you know that the Lord wants us to ‘grow in grace,’ to become mature Christians? James says “Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:4, NIV) God allows us to be stretched, tested, and tried in life so we develop resilience, learn to sort out what is important, and know how to do what needs to be done even when we are tired, lacking enthusiasm, or just plain bored. Peter urges us to get good spiritual nourishment. Why? “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.“ (1 Peter 2:2, NIV) Paul chastised the Christians in Corinth, people who played at their faith walk, who fought like kids on a playground, who indulged their sinful natures saying “You’re acting like infants when you should be mature in faith!”
Are you growing in your faith, letting God, the Spirit, lead you to maturity? Maturity is a blessing.
God replaces the physical beauty and strength of youth with the beauty of a great soul in those who are willing to ‘grow up’ in Christ.
Ron Rolheiser, a Catholic priest, writes about those who refuse maturity, who try to hang onto a past that inevitably slips away. “The body ages, but the soul remains immature, clinging to adolescence, fearful of responsibility, fearful of commitment, fearful of opportunity slipping away, fearful of aging, fearful of own maturity, and, not least, fearful of death. This is not a formula for happiness, but one for an ever-increasing fear, disappointment, and bitterness in life. Not growing-up eventually catches up with everyone, and what judged as cute at 20, colorful at 30, and eccentric at 40, becomes intolerable at 50. At a certain age, even poetry and verve don’t compensate for immaturity. The soul, too, must grow-up.”
Don’t fear growing up. Become one of those rock-solid, steady, productive people who anchor life for many others. That does not mean you have become boring, cranky, or joyless! That caricature of age is not the same as maturity. Here is word from the Word. May this truth move us to choose to ‘adult’ in our Christian practices. “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. You don’t need further instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And so, God willing, we will move forward to further understanding. . . .
Our great desire is that you will keep on loving others as long as life lasts, in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true. Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent. Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God’s promises because of their faith and endurance.” (Hebrews 6:1-3, 11-12, NLT)
Lord, make me a mature Christian, of deep faith.
Teach me to use the gifts You give in the best way.
Help me to live steadily, through the ups and downs
that inevitably come my way.
Give me a new appreciation of responsibility,
making me forgetful of applause and privilege as I
serve in Your name, be it on stage or in obscurity.
In Jesus’ Name. Amen