Given my current age of thirty-seven, the title of today’s post may cause some to roll their eyes. I guess this line of thinking springs up from the apostle Paul’s words in 1 Cor. 13:11. In this verse, Paul talks about the maturity of one from a child to an adult in terms of growing in love, the gifts of the Spirit, and our future glorification as followers of Jesus. I am not growing for growth’s sake. There is an expected end or result due to the shaping and molding.
There is a time of instruction and development needed in order to engage as an adult. Once that time passes, there is the doing or the applying of what one has learned. Do I stop learning as an adult? Am I free to disregard ways to improve or better who I am? The answer to both of those questions is a solid no. Learning continues even after I exist this present life. Back to the main point, in my walk with Christ, the young adult stage is definitely past; however, I sense that the young man stage is a thing of the past, too.
1 Corinthians 13 is a marvelous chapter about containing and expressing God’s love. It is a call to be and to do as an adult in Christ. This is not age dependent, but it is dependent upon my trust and obedience to Christ. The call is to grow in Christ, which is by the Spirit. In my flesh, I can do things that seem like love. In my flesh, the love comes out in false ways like manipulation and scheming. I may have the Holy Spirit and one or two of his gifts, but I am selfish, impatient, rigid, and discontented. The solution to some of this is to remain quiet. Speak or act only when prompted by the Spirit. This might require that I stay silent long enough to sense the Spirit nudging me.
The very next question that comes to mind is what does it look like to stay silent? Practically, this might mean taking some time out of the day to be with the Lord. Rather than blitzing through passage of the bible, it might be wiser to rest at one verse or even one word. There might be a variety of ways to seek the Lord. It does not mean descending into some form of mysticism. The Psalms are rife with passages and verses that command and encourage seeking God. Here’s a wonderful example in Psalm 119:10 —
“With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments.”
In this verse, the Psalmist expresses that he seeks after God with his whole heart. Then, he petitions his God for the ability to obey or follow God’s commands. I think it is appropriate to pray this verse or to rest on it verse as a practical exercise for seeking God. If I am disobeying his word in specific ways, then it follows that I am not seeking him or his ways. He will show me those specific things that I am doing for confession and repentance. This process refines me and enables me to draw nearer to my Heavenly Father. It also matures me into more of an adult before God and men. Childish ways are childish ways no matter how safe, comfortable and familiar.
What I need is God and his word. There is no substitute as a spiritual adult in Christ. Because I reside in this body of death to quote the apostle Paul, I will always need the Father’s help to read his word and to apply his truths to my life. My prayer sounds no different than the Psalmist’s: “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law” (Psalm 119:18, ESV). Unless the Spirit of God opens my eyes, the bible ceases to be a lifegiving account of following Christ. Without the Spirit, God’s word comes off as a confusing historical creative work about an unknown being anthropomorphized into someone important. Given that I have the Spirit of God dwelling within me, I can read and obey his word to maximum effect as his man.