Time to Grow Up
by Joseph Franks
Hillary Clinton made the news again this week as she bemoaned the number of millennials who found it convenient and desirable to graduate from college and move into their parents’ basement. On this point, and probably this point alone, Sectetary Clinton and I are in agreement. Children need to grow up!
Laura (my wife) and I do not have a basement. However, we do enjoy a bonus/media room and a 20-year-old son who is a junior in college. And trust me, we have no plans to see our college-graduate adult son take a mediocre job, move back home, take over the bonus room, kick up his feet, and stay up into the wee hours of the night playing video games and binge watching Netflix. No, we have much higher expectations for our young adult. We are excited to see him grow up.
However, some in society or not so much in favor of children growing up. According to a BBC news report, the stage up adolescence no longer ends when people hit the age of 18. This is according to updated guidelines presented by child psychologists. The purpose for their new directive is twofold: they hope to extend the age range of children they can reach even to the age of 25; and they hope to thwart the unreasonable expectations of parents so that their older children will no longer be rushed through their childhood while feeling too much pressure to achieve key milestones quickly.
However, this is nothing new. Consider the television shows “Everyone Loves Reymond”, “Modern Family” and “Two and a Half Men.” When one looks at the American male as depicted on these and other such sitcoms, one can hardly be impressed with maturation level of the men depicted. And in these cases, art imitates life. The American male is often mediocre at work, distant at home, comfortable on the couch, overweight and out of shape, led by his loins, and more passionate about Monday Night Football, wrestling, or the latest release of Grand Theft Auto. Men are quite often not the mature leader in their households.
However, this failure to grow up is not merely a male phenomenon. Many women are less and less interested in pursuing excellence in their homes, churches, workplace, and community. Not all, but many are too busy becoming “Desperate housewives,” being “Bad Moms,” all while keeping up with Kim and yearning for “Magic Mike.”
Someone has said, “If you keep your expectations low, then you will find yourself less disappointed.” This seems to be the mantra of many men, women and overgrown adolescents today. There is an epidemic of people not growing up.
However, this is not a vaunted characteristics of those who know God and are impacted by his Gospel. Men and women who find acceptance with God hunger to take chances, pursue great things, and grow in maturity. Joseph was a model of young maturity; so two were Samuel, Daniel and his companions. They were head and shoulders above their peers. Even Jesus was said to grow in wisdom, stature, and in favor with God and man. Young women who modeled maturity include Ruth, Esther, and Mary the mother of Jesus.
Christian friends, the Spirit of God frees us from the fear of failure and the love of mediocrity. It motivates us to grow up and accomplish great things for God’s glory. The Spirit works with and so that adult “meat” is preferred over “milk.” Therefore, it is not surprising that personal maturation is one of the goals of Christ’s church. Paul writes:
And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints … until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ … (Ephesians 4)
Christian worshiper, let’s enjoy the progress Christ is making with and seek to be a bit different than the average Joe in our culture. Let’s grow up! Let’s mature and leave behind our childish and foolish ways. Men, let’s take the lead and man up! Ladies, you mature as well and grow in excellence as you grow in years. And it matters not what your age is at the present time; all of us can further blossom in manifesting the affections, thinking, character, and actions of Jesus Christ. Then, together as parents and local church members, let us teach our children to follow our example and grow up. This is honoring to Jesus Christ.