Sin... anxiety, arrogance, anger, apathy... adolescence? It’s certainly not a sin to be young, but it is sinful to not grow up, to act childishly, to be immature, to maintain spiritual infancy or adolescence.
As new believers, we should be “like newborn infants.” We should “desire the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow up” (1 Peter 2:2). The church has been given “pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into maturity with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness. Then we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit. But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into him who is the head—Christ” (Ephesians 4:11–15).
Paul rebuked the church at Corinth for their immaturity. “Brothers and sisters, don’t be childish!” (1 Corinthians 14:20). They weren’t acting like mature Christians “but as people of the flesh, as babies in Christ.” Instead of teaching deep theological truth, the Apostle gave them “milk to drink, not solid food, since you were not yet ready for it” (1 Corinthians 3:1–3). Paul seems to say, “Grow up, Corinthians!” “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put aside childish things” (1 Corinthians 13:11).
Peter prayed that Christians would “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). Paul and his coworkers labored and “wrestled” in their “prayers, so that (we) can stand mature” (Colossians 4:12) and to “present everyone (in the church) mature in Christ” (Colossians 1:28).
Writing to the first-century church ... and to the twenty-first church, Paul writes, “I kneel before the Father from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named. I pray that he may grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with power in your inner being through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, and to know Christ’s love that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:14–21). “We are asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, so that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:9–10).
Take stock. Examine your spiritual growth. Be honest with yourself. Are you growing and maturing? “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so that you may know what is the hope of his calling, what is the wealth of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the mighty working of his strength” (Ephesians 1:18–19).
All Scripture quotations, except as otherwise noted, are from
Holman Bible Publishers’ Christian Standard Bible.