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It’s Time to Grow Up: Part 1 (Anderson)

Return weekly for blogs from our various writers: The following blog is written by Frank Anderson on growing spiritually.


It’s time to grow up.

When I was a child, I used to speak as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.                        (1 Corinthians 13:11)

In this installment, I want to make some observations about the maturity of some within the community of faith.

I notice that all creatures, while infants, rightly focus on their own needs – it’s a matter of survival. If they could articulate their thoughts and feelings, they would go something like this:

  • Feed me
  • I’m content
  • I’m frustrated
  • Change me
  • Hold me
  • Comfort me
  • I’m sick
  • I’m too cold
  • I’m too hot
  • I’m tired
  • I’m bored
  • I’m frightened
  • Entertain me

At birth, one’s circle of interest is strictly confined to self. Shortly, however, the circle of interest begins to include those that can meet the needs (mom and dad). Later, it can include siblings and other family members. In my case, the most painful lesson that I learned when my brother came along is that the universe does not revolve Frank Anderson. This was driven home again and again as I went to kindergarten and Sunday school.

Acting like a child is completely appropriate – for a child. As time passes, to continue to act like a child is an aberration, and is generally not tolerated, unless there is something wrong, and growth is arrested.

As one matures, we expect that the roles and actions change so that the cared-for becomes the care giver. Here are some of the hallmarks of a mature adult parent:

  • Focus is on others
  • Nurtures
  • Loves
  • Provides shelter
  • Provides food
  • Provides comfort
  • Provides medical care
  • Provides protection from harm
  • Provides education and training
  • Mentors
  • Provides discipline (structure)
  • Provides correction

Tweet: “As men, I believe we are to practice and model these behaviors to our spouses and our children.” @frankwanderson @multiplyingmen

The writer of the Book of Hebrews (my money is on Apollos) takes it to another level when he writes, “Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity…. and this we shall do, if God permits.” (Hebrews 6:1, 3)

So, what does spiritual maturity look like for the Christian believer? Before we consider that, let’s look at some of the hallmarks of an immature Christian believer. Here is a brief list of some of the attitudes that many very new believers possess:

  • Heal me
  • Help me
  • Bless me
  • Teach me
  • Give me money
  • Give me a car
  • Give me a husband/wife
  • Change my husband/wife
  • Give me a job
  • Give me a better job
  • Get me out of trouble

Just like the infant, the immature believer is very self-centered. This is not bad. Just like the normal infant, in the course of time, there is normal growth, and one’s circle of interest begins to increase. As one matures, his focus turns away from himself and he begins to see and address the needs of others.

Sometimes, however, there is arrested development, and a believer remains self-centered. This can lead to being double-minded and susceptible to being tossed about by “every wind of doctrine”. Even more tragic, a self-centered believer can become manipulative in order to get his own needs met, and thus, toxic to the community of faith. Furthermore, this is simply a rotten example to the rest of humanity.

So, what are some of the hallmarks of a mature Christian believer? Here is a short list of some of the traits I have observed among mature believers:

  • Prays for the sick
  • Helps those in need
  • Blesses others
  • Gives tithes and offerings
  • Gives time and energy
  • Submits to authority
  • Possesses integrity
  • Above reproach (e.g. obeys vehicle code)
  • Faithful to his spouse (i.e. even with his eyes)
  • Temperate
  • Prudent
  • Respectable
  • Hospitable (e.g. loves company)
  • Able and willing to teach
  • Even tempered
  • Gentle in word and deed
  • Uncontentious
  • Free from the love of money
  • Possesses a good reputation

As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. (Ephesians 4:14-16)

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Frank Anderson
CFO of Church 212
Executive Director of Agape International

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