“Act your age! Will you just GROW UP?”
Have you ever had that said to you? Have you ever said it to someone? Why is it so hard to grow up?
Do you remember Peter Pan singing, “I won’t grow up, I don’t want to go to school. Just to learn to be a parrot, And recite a silly rule. If growing up means It would be beneath my dignity to climb a tree, I’ll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up. Not me!! I won’t grow up, I don’t want to wear a tie. And a serious expression In the middle of July. And if it means I must prepare To shoulder burdens with a worried air, I’ll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up Not me.”
Brennan Waits: wrote a song by the same title that contains the lines, “And I don’t wanna grow up. I don’t wanna have to shout it out. I don’t want my hair to fall out. I don’t wanna be filled with doubt. I don’t wanna be a good boy scout. I don’t wanna have to learn to count. I don’t wanna have the biggest amount. I don’t wanna grow up.”
There is an appropriate name for this condition, The Peter Pan Syndrome. Although it is not considered to be a psychopathological disorder, an increasing number of adults are presenting emotionally immature behaviors in Western Society. They are unable or unwilling to grow up and take on adult responsibilities, and even dress up and enjoy themselves as teenagers when they are over 30 years old. It usually affects dependent people who haven’t developed the necessary skills to confront life.
Characteristics of this disorder are the inability to take on responsibilities, commit themselves or keep promises, excessive care about the way they look and personal well-being and their lack of self-confidence, even though they don’t seem to show it and actually come across as exactly the opposite. (Edited Source: Science Daily May 3, 2007)
Personally, I remember in my late twenties having the fear that people would find out that I was still just a kid pretending to be an adult. You don’t have to raise your hands, but am I the only one who experienced that? I must not be because I keep seeing Facebook posts about adults who want to put on their jammies and build a blanket fort into which to retreat from the adult world for a while.
Why is it so hard to grow up? Or why don’t we want to grow up?
Really … do we have to? I mean Jesus did say that unless we became like little children, we couldn’t enter heaven. Matthew 18:3 & Mark 10:15 Yes! Jesus was speaking of children’s ability to believe instantly and without doubt. That is the kind of belief that Paul speaks of when he writes, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9
Paul also writes to the church in Corinth, “When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.” 1 Corinthians 13:11 Undoubtedly Paul realized the necessity to grow and mature in our faith. When he wrote to them and said, “I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food for you were not yet able to receive it.” 1 Corinthians 3:2
As babies, we start life so helpless and so self centered. All a baby really wants is to be warm, full, dry and held. We cry over anything that makes us uncomfortable. When we are cold or hot, wet or hungry, or lonely; that gives us a reason to cry. Soon, we learn that crying works very well. Cry and someone comes and changes us. Cry and someone feeds us. Cry and someone comes to hold us. We cry and someone comes and makes the discomfort go away. Ta Dah! We have learned the secret of the universe: how to be content: Cry!
Then we grow and begin to toddle around on our own. We discover all kinds of new things as our world expands. Sometimes we discover great new things like how to wiggle between the couch and the wall and have our own secret place. Or how to unroll the toilet paper all over the bathroom floor. And how to climb up onto the couch and turn the lights on and off. Sometimes we also learn hurtful things like the edge of the table has sharp edges at just the right height to bump our heads. We learn that walking gets us around faster. We learn that falling skins our knees. And worse yet … we begin to be told, “No.” There are things that we are not allowed to do. We might even get our hands spanked as we reach for the stove. How dare they treat us like that!
And we begin to learn (hopefully) that crying doesn’t always work. Sometimes instead of being held, we are patted on the back and told that, “It will be alright.”
We come into our teenage years and begin to learn that, not only are there things that we are not allowed to do, there are things that we are expected to do. We have chores that need to be done. We learn that if we want something, we have to give something in return. We might have to earn the money to purchase something that our parents cant’ or won’t buy for us.
As we mature we become less self centered (hopefully) and more others centered. We learn to give, not because we want something in return, but because someone else needs it. We learn that a well balanced adult should have a balance between these two: self and others.
Newly born again Christians are a lot like new born babies. We want God to hold us, to feed us, and to keep us safe from the cares of the world. And God does.
Learning experiences also happen to us as “toddlers in Christ”. We discover new joys in the Lord like how to be alone with God in prayer even in a crowded place. We learn to begin flexing our spiritual muscles and sometimes we find joy and sometimes hurt. God is there to tell us, “I am with you always.” We begin to learn that there are some worldly things that, for our own good, we need to avoid.
As “teenage Christians” we also learn that along with the “Thou shalt nots!” there are “Thou Shalt do’s”. God begins to give us “Go and Do” commands. We learn that though we are still trusting in Him to provide our needs, we also need to step out on faith.
We reach a level of Christian maturity where we have learned to “love our neighbor as ourselves.” Then, Jesus announces that we should be far more other-centered. We are to not only be our brother’s keeper. Galatians 6:2 & Matthew 25:35 We are to be our brother’s servant. 1 John 3:17 And if that weren’t enough, we are to even love those who hate us and do evil things to us. Romans 12:17-21 We are to love and forgive as God has loved and forgiven us. Ephesians 5:1& John 13:34
We are to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5:48
We, like Paul, have not achieved and possess perfection. But we are to constantly strive for it. Philippians 3:12
Many … maybe too many … Christians view their salvation as “fire insurance.” It is true that we were saved FROM something … our sins … or, as I understand it … we were saved from ourselves. But salvation is more than “fire insurance”. We were also saved TO something. We were saved to SERVICE. Here is a short list of duties that we are told to perform:
Feed the hungry Matthew 25
Heal the sick Matthew 25
Visit the prisoner Matthew 25
Give drink to the thirsty Matthew 25
Clothe the naked Matthew 25
Make disciples Matthew 28:19-20
Teach Matthew 28:19-20
Baptize Matthew 28:19-20
Preach 2 Timothy 4:2 & Matthew 10:7
Correct 2 Timothy 4:2
Rebuke 2 Timothy 4:2
Encourage 2 Timothy 4:2
Instruct 2 Timothy 4:2
Be Evangelists Ephesians 4:11
Be Prophets Ephesians 4:11
Be Pastors Ephesians 4:11
Be Teachers Ephesians 4:11
Do works John 14:12 meJannes 2:14-26
Study 2 Timothy 2:15
I could go on listing things that we Christians are commanded to do. However, you need to ask God to give you your personal orders. Trust me in this … He has a job for you. And it maybe a job that no one else can do. Whatever you are called to do, He will provide the path and the power to achieve it.
The real question before us is, “Where are we in our journey toward Christian maturity?”
Our world is full of distractions that can stunt our Christian growth.
Certainly the culture outside our circle of Godly friends and family can get our attention and direct us away from the goal that God has in mind for us. Work and/or school can sap our energies and occupy our minds. Financial and health issues can wear us down. Games, sports, television, internet, and others can be a welcome relief from the duties and demands of life, but can also pull us away from spending time with God.
I don’t know how “old” you are in your walk with God. I do know that, if we wish to continue to grow, we have to set aside some time to study God’s word and prayerfully open ourselves to God’s guidance. Take time to pray. Remember, God already knows what you need. So pray from your heart without trying to make a fancy prayer that men will praise you for. Matthew 6:5-15 Jesus said that whatever we ask of him He will do. John 14:13 If we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 1 John 5:14 If you lack wisdom, ask God. James 1:5 Pray, pray, pray without ceasing. 1 Thessalonians 5:17
Remember when you pray that it is a conversation with God. So, take time to listen for His response. Here are some things that I know God has to say to us:
- You can do all things through Him who gives you strength. Phillippians 4:13
- As you go, preach, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 10:7
- Whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant. Mark 10:43
- Make your speech, behavior, love, faith, and purity an example for other believers.1 Timothy4:12
- You are Christ’s representatives, and through us God is calling you. 2 Corinthians 5:20
- You received a gift from God. Now I’m reminding you to fan that gift into flames.. 2 Timothy 1;6
- Wherever you go, make disciples of all nations: Baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.. Matthew 28:19
- Always be spreading the Good News. God trusts you to do this because you passed his test. Don’t try to please people but God, who tests your motives.1 Thessalonians 2:4
- Devote yourself to praying and to serving in ways that are related to the word. Acts 6:4
- You will be his witness and will tell everyone what you have seen and heard. Acts 22:15
- The Lord requires of you to seek justice, and love kindness, and walk humbly with your God. Micha 6:8
These are the paths to maturity. These are the paths that will lead you to the goal God has for you. These will help you to grow up. Amen
©2020 Thomas E Williams
Also visit my (mostly) daily devotions blog. Www.musingsdevotions.WordPress.com