It is getting harder and harder to become an adult. American society has cultivated a state of perpetual childhood. We have many rites of passage, but they usually include only increases of independence. We expect more access and privilege, asking people to increase in performance and responsibility is an entirely different matter. We are reaping the result of decades of child centered parenting where we treat people as self indulgent toddlers. Do we do this in the church also? Are we facing churches full of toddlers? Do we throw ourselves on the floor and sob uncontrollably every time we are asked to do something, or if life does not go our way? Do we expect others to indulge our every whim? Do we think we are the center of life, and that things should be as we want them just because we want our way?
2 Corinthians 13:11 (CSB)
11 Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice. Become mature, be encouraged, be of the same mind, be at peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.
The Bible is clear about spiritual maturity. What does it say about it? It says that we should have it. We are to grow up into Him. What does this entail? I can not give you an exhaustive list, but I can address some of the issues. We need to become God-centered and others-centered instead of being self-centered. We need to stop either throwing a fit or leaving the playground to go home every time our whims are not met. (I recognize this behavior because I have exhibited it on so very many occasions that I am very embarrassed even thinking about it). We also need to realize that we need to enter in to the responsibility of the household chores. You know, at church we need to not just take, but to contribute also.
We need to learn. We spend 13 years of our life in school. That is a lot of time. We learn an immense amount of information and build a tremendous amount of skill. We need this information and skill to function in the adult world. We must be able to read and write, to master a certain amount of math that is required in the buying and selling of goods and the management of money. We need to know certain facts about history, the arts, science, health, social issues, literature and a host of other subjects. We must have a command of language and vocabulary large enough to communicate clearly.
Is spiritual life different? Can we function as spiritual adults if we cannot function in a certain amount of theology and Bible knowledge? Do you know who God says He is? Do you know what He says about you? Do you know where you come from? Where you are going? Do you know what it means to be saved? Can you explain the big picture of the Bible? Do you understand the long running redemptive process that has and is being played out? Can you lead someone else to salvation? My purpose here is not to condemn or belittle you. But, I am trying to compel you to rise up. Spend time with the spiritual disciplines. Make the time to study your Bible, pray, fellowship, learn, teach, serve, and worship. The pursuit of knowing, understanding and living God’s word has been the adventure of a lifetime for me. The life of a mature believer is the life of someone who has walked many paths, who knows how to encourage and be encouraged, who knows fellowship with other believers through the mutual presence of the Holy Spirit, who knows the love and peace of God. It is a person who has some experience with and understanding of God. It is a person who knows what it is like to experience His presence. It is a person who knows how to weather storms, because of experience weathering storms. It is well worth the investment of time and attention. Come along with us. We are all in this together and are ready and willing to walk through this life with you, encouraging you and being encouraged by you along the way.