I listen to a lot of talk about what it means to grow up in the faith. A lot of it sounds like variations of “buckle down, grit your teeth, and try harder” or “have better morals” or “follow this 10-step plan to guaranteed maturity in six months or less.”
My idea of Christian maturity is becoming a child all over again. It’s about growing young.
I don’t mean acting childish. There is a world of difference between being childish and being childlike. You’ve all been around kids enough to tell one from the other.
Children aren’t shy about admitting their dependence. They know they need help– and lots of it. They aren’t embarrassed to seek out that help.
Too often, believers buy into the lie that you have to figure it all out on your own. That your own spiritual growth is up to you. Jesus saved you, but from now on it’s all up to you.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for the disciplines of the faith and training your body, mind, and spirit to follow hard after Christ.
The best way to grow is to grow in community with those who will encourage and support you (as well as occasionally challenging you and holding you accountable). The most mature believers are the ones least ashamed to ask for help when they know they need it. They are the most aware of their own flaws and weaknesses and the grace that covers all their sin.
Christianity is all about “we” not “I”. That’s why God instituted the Church. He never intended for Lone Ranger Christians to strike out on their own and try to mature in solitude.
I still love the idea of a declaration of dependence. That’s what the Christian faith is all about. It’s not a DIY religion but an every day surrender and dependence on God and His grace. Your greatest strength still lies in surrendering and submission.