Monday, June 14, 2010

Why Is Growing Up So Hard To Do?

According to an article in the New York Times, more and more young people are avoiding growing into ‘official’ adulthood. It has been no secret that many of the so-called ‘Baby Boomers” have intentionally stretched out the lifestyles normally associated with those in their late teens or early twenties. But new research shows that the generation to follow may be as bad or worse!

In times past, when someone would be engaged in age-inappropriate or immature actions, they might well hear “Just grow up”, or perhaps “Please just act your age”. But ‘acting one’s age’ today, for growing numbers, may mean doing something at age 35 that should have been left far behind a decade or maybe even two earlier.

To help facilitate the trend, the Obama administration now allows children up to age 26 to remain on their parents’ health insurance. There has been a large increase in the number of women older than 35 who have become first-time mothers. People between 20 and 34 are taking longer to finish their education and establish themselves in careers, according to a study at MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Transitions to Adulthood. Marriage and parenthood are now viewed more as lifestyle choices, according to a new report released by Princeton University and the Brookings Institution. Social scientists say young adulthood has undergone a profound shift.

Unless something is mentally and physically wrong, growth and maturity should be a natural and normal part of life. When looking back throughout history, scores of stories are revealed about great feats accomplished by relatively young people. Today, a teen keeping his or her room straight and emptying the trash on occasion is seen as a great achievement.

In America teens are allowed to drive, work, enter the military, marry, and do a host of other highly serious and responsible activities. The opportunities are there and so is the ability for most. So to resist the normal transformation to adulthood is simply a choice – one that sometimes originates from good old-fashioned selfishness and the desire to ‘party on’ as long as humanly possible.

Granted, people mature a various rates. But overall, those who are still engaged in lifestyles that resemble high school seniors at ago 30 and beyond are intentionally defying what should be the healthy norm. It appears that more and more strive to remain ‘free’ and to live a life at play as long as they can get away with it and fund it all somehow.

As pathetic as this whole scene has become, there is an area in life that doing this is far more serious and with unspeakable consequences. In the spiritual realm, those who are given new life in Jesus Christ through faith are not asked or urged to grow and mature in their relationship with their new Savior and Lord. Growth and maturing is a command and a given – period.

Scriptural proof abounds in the New Testament concerning the subject. A classic example would be seen in 1 Peter 2:2-3 which declares, “As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.” Colossians 1:9-11 echoes the same concept. Paul writes there, “For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.”

But it is the passage in Ephesians chapter four that really clarifies and strengthens what God did for His children and what He expects of those who have been the recipients of His great grace and divine nature.

Starting with verse 11, Paul writes to the church, "And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head — Christ — from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.”

Unfortunately, many younger Americans have selected to put the natural adult maturing process on hold. If this is indeed unnatural, it will likely also be overall unprofitable. And only time will reveal the overall results both in their own lives and upon the great nation that has given opportunity to live a life like nowhere else on earth.

But for Christians, no such ‘luxury’ is afforded. For believers the stakes are higher, the expectations clearer, the final results eternal, and the rewards beyond understanding. They have been given God’s very best and should strive to give their best back to Him – not if and when they are good and ready - but as soon as spiritually possible! Why mature and grow up fully in Christ as soon as possible? Paul answers that clearly and quickly in Ephesians chapter two.

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)

Bill Breckenridge

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