I remember wanting to grow up so bad when I was a kid. I looked into the future, a bright place, where I was an adult, and could do anything that I wanted! It was going to be excellent. Late nights, friends over all of the time, and spending my money on smart things that a kid could enjoy – like a pocket-knives and BB guns – not on boring things like mortgages and retirement plans.
Sadly, as I attained the magical age when I would be “free”, I was also “broke”. Not just broke, I was very busy trying to keep all of my adult bills paid. My wife and I were married by the time I was 19 and she was 18, so there was even more responsibility handed to me than I had anticipated as a youngster. Even so, I was still very young, and could easily access my memories of childhood as I acted out on occasion. Life was good.
As much as I wanted to stay young in my mind and in some of my choices, I started seeing that my wife, and many others in my life, needed me to grow up. They needed me to learn the things that “a man knows”, and be prepared to assist the other folks that were in my immediate circle. There were bills to pay, cars to work on, mechanical things that had broken, and larger questions of life that needed answering. My “kid” ways had really been fun, but they were not what was needed now. I had to grow up. The time had come.
Do you remember that moment in your life? Do you remember finally deciding it was time to start taking “responsibility”? For some in our world, that time has somehow been avoided. They are old enough to be adults, and they do have responsibilities… but they just have not picked them up.
Perpetual adolescence is an idea that seems pervasive in our culture today. This is an idea that says “you never have to grow up”. Actually, it teaches you to desire to never grow up. Just keep looking for ways to remain like a kid. Find people that will serve you. Spend time on social media and focus on yourself. Do good things, but mention it to everyone. Ask questions like, “What’s in it for me?” Be married, but live like single people, spending much of your time with your friends, not each other. This kind of selfishness is, while not desirable, at least forgivable in children. In adults, it is not very attractive.
I think we can all understand the desire. It is natural to want to prolong that time in your life when you could run without worry, play like it was a job, and celebrate with an ice cream cone while feeling no guilt about the calories. It truly was a magical time.
Unfortunately, time waits for no man (or boy). This is truth. This is real. We don’t have to like growing up, or want to grow up, but we are forced to grow up. It really has to happen. And, there are even some great advantages to growing up, when done properly.
If we struggle at times to grow up in our physical lives, I think it is also logical to think that we sometimes hesitate to grow up in our spiritual lives as well. We like being the kids at church. We have ministries designed for us. We have our own classes. We get to sit with the other people like us, goof around a little in the pews, and generally not take things too seriously. It is kind of fun getting to play hide and seek in the building and float things in the baptistry (not that I ever did that).
Then one day, there is something serious happening in you life or the life of a close friend. Something needs to be said. It is time to come to the aid of a brother or a sister. Where are the “grown-ups” that we need to do something?!?!? Yep, you figured it out. It is us. There is not someone else to look to for help. We need to grow up and be the spiritually mature people that God has planned for us to be.
This is what this blog is designed to help us do. It is designed to help us “become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:13. And, that is a tall order. That includes a lot of biblical learning and Christian grace to get there. We need it, and the church needs it.
It is written by someone that has been forced to grow up, and has often not enjoyed very much the process by which that has occurred. It has happened by force more often than by attraction, and quickly rather than over a longer period, giving me very little time to adjust. Sometimes it happened through one simple medical test, where something is found that changes your lives forever. But, more about that later.
I hope something that is offered here is encouraging to you. Other things may be challenging, and some I hope just entertaining.
Whatever happens, it is about growing up in Christ. And, that is as important as it is necessary for His holy people. We are to be “no longer infants, tossed back and forth by the waves.”
Good things to pray about.