A friend recently posted a meme on Facebook which said “Growing old is inevitable but growing up is optional.” It’s funny because it’s true and we can think of people we know it applies to – that person may even be us.
Growing older physically happens to everyone, but maturity is not guaranteed just because you have the right number of birthdays. There are plenty of people who are emotionally and spiritually immature despite their age. We can’t control our aging process, but we do get to decide whether or not we will grow into mature people. That’s a decision we have to make time and again throughout life. When a tough time comes, we have to figure out if we want to grow through the experience or not. It is easy to ignore and just continue on.
Growing up spiritually is often what we call discipleship. It is taking responsibility for our relationship with Jesus and paying attention to it. It is learning to recognize the things that are unhealthy for our spiritual care. It’s developing practices that keep us spiritually strong. It is daily asking for the help of the Holy Spirit to empower us as we move through the day.
The Apostle Paul knew the challenges that come with life and with serving Jesus. He felt his work was to help people grow so they would be “fully mature in Christ.” (Colossians 1:28) He knew that some days would be difficult, so he says to the church in Corinth: “That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.” (2 Corinthians 4:16)
As his followers, we are to grow up and become mature in Christ. For a believer, this growth isn’t optional. Thankfully, his Spirit is able to help each and every day.