I think growing up is so much easier said than done. I am approaching the second semester of my junior year in undergrad and I am beginning to feel some pressure regarding the real world. As college students we may become bombarded with the many questions we are asked by family and friends regarding our future. It is sometimes then that we realize it is time to grow up. Time to be responsible. Time to begin to prepare ourselves to live independently and pay bills. Even if some of us already have the responsibility of paying bills, there may be some intimidation about the fact that whether we are ready for not, the world is waiting for us bright eyed and bushy tailed.
1 Corinthians 13:11 (NIV): “When I was a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.”
In addition to gaining responsibility and growing up naturally, it is also vital that we grow up spiritually. In the spiritual realm we may not be instructed to have a solid and persuasive resume or to make sure we keep a strong networking community but we definitely receive instruction. We become responsible for our actions and even the roles we play in the actions of others. Just as we are responsible for the sin we commit, we are also responsible for any assistance we play in the sins of others. Rolling a blunt for yourself is just as bad as rolling a blunt for someone else. I think the most difficult part about the idea of growing up is letting go of all comfort and security we have found in others. We cannot achieve eternal salvation through our mother, father, brother, sister, or anyone else. Growing up causes us to let go of excuses and crutches. I always think about when we make reservations for dinner or events as being what we can’t do spiritually. When someone makes a reservation, someone else who knows the correct information can confirm the reservation. If we go to a restaurant and say, “Hey, my sister made a reservation for….” the receptionist will confirm and direct you to a table. Things don’t work like the scenario shared above in the Kingdom of God. You won’t be able to get eternal salvation through someone else’s relationship with God. Joel 2:28 (KJV): “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.” We each need to have an active, healthy, and personal relationship with the one true living God.
Psalms 71:17-18 (NIV): “17 Since my youth, God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds. 18 Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come.” I believed I shared before some of the mixed emotions I had right after I had gotten saved. I was happy that God had saved me but I was indifferent about the fact that I would have to grow up spiritually. I was uneasy because that wasn’t on my to-do list at the time of just turning 19. The only growing up I was focused on was getting accepting into internship programs and going through the drama of registering for GRE classes on my own. I was distraught over the idea that I would be responsible for my spiritual standing and that I would have to change according to the wisdom God had shared with me.
Don’t be discouraged with the thought that you will have to be on this long, scary, and tiring journey with God. It is definitely a beautiful and virtuous journey but certainly isn’t an easy one. The way of God is narrow, which means you have to be spiritually fit to make it down His path. Find comfort in the fact that God does give help . But the key to receiving and enjoying that help is that our dependency needs to be fully on the Lord. If not, our help will be our idol, our god. We have to thank God for setting the order of things so that our priorities do not become distorted. God always knows what He is doing. Isaiah 46:3-4 (NIV): “3Listen to me, you descendants of Jacob, all the remnant of the people of Israel, you whom I have upheld since your birth, and have carried since you were born. 4 Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” God won’t grow us up without His help. God won’t say grow up and leave us stranded and confused. God is ready to grow us up at our own pace, time, and specific circumstances.
I want to take time to recognize that there is beauty and glory in old age. Proverbs 20:29 (NIV): ” The glory of young men is their strength, gray hair is the splendor of the old.” The world views aging as an individual becoming unattractive, struggling to pay bills, and pushed to the side by children and grand-children. Thank you Jesus that in spiritual maturity things are the complete opposite. As we grow and mature in the Lord we become even more beautiful as the beauty of Christ grows within us. We become wise and thus become prosperous in Christ. And we become more in tune with the presence of God so regardless of any company we have in the flesh, we never feel lonely as we never leave the feet of the Lord. That is something worth looking forward to! I spoke with my grandmother a few weeks ago and she said to me, “I don’t want to seek God when I am old and sickly. I want to seek God in my youth.” Mind you this is my grandmother so I chuckled at the thought of her talking about growing old but she has the idea correct. Ecclesiastes 12:1-3 (NIV): “1 Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, “I find no pleasure in them”— 2 before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars grow dark, and the clouds return after the rain; 3 when the keepers of the house tremble, and the strong men stoop, when the grinders cease because they are few, and those looking through the windows grow dim.” All too often do we as humans try to wait to become physically old to begin to become a babe in Christ. Some individuals die without being able to truly experience and exercise the power of God! If being just a babe in Christ is a rejuvenating and praiseworthy experience just imagine what it may be like to mature and grow elderly in Him.
As I am working to grow in Christ I encourage others to do the same. Growing up in God is much different from growing up in the world. When the world is inconsistent with explaining what the future will bring the Word of God gives specific and truthful breakdowns. God will mercifully remove all crutches so that we may reach our full potential as the Body of Christ. Rest assured that growing up spiritually in Christ is one of the most rewarding experiences in Christ if not the most rewarding. Maturing in Christ brings so much joy, power, and authority. In spiritual development other aspects of our lives are affected and will ultimately be a reflection of our ever-increasing relationship with our Father. Leave your childish ways behind and press on toward the goal to win the prize of which God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14). Thank You Jesus.