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Sunday, October 22, 2017

"Adulting" is a Process

I keep seeing signs, blogs, and memes about adulting, which is the new verb for being an adult. Doing the adult thing. Acting like an adult. Being a grown-up.

I decided to look up the word adult in the dictionary.

Adult = fully developed and mature*

Most of us are fully developed by age eighteen or so. We have grown to our God-ordained height, and our bodies are mature. But actually being an adult is much more than being big boys and girls. It means acting mature. We look up mature to see what the dictionary says.

Mature = 1. based on slow careful consideration: a mature judgment
                  2. having completed natural growth and development*

As you can see, being an adult and being mature is a process. Of course, the first part of the process is physical and mental development. Over childhood, the person naturally grows and matures. But the second part of being an adult is more abstract. It’s being mature in judgment, having self-control, discerning, and having wisdom.

How do you develop those characteristics?

What do we need to develop in order to be a real adult?

Thankfully, the Bible tells us!

Describing Jesus’ childhood, the Bible says: And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man (Luke 2:52). You can see here that Jesus grew up physically and also in other ways. Of course, He was different in that He was God. It's difficult for us to fully understand how He grew up.

This is what the Bible says about people and growth. I believe we can glean some valuable insights from these verses.
  • The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon (Psalm 92:12).
  • God says, But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall (Malachi 4:2).
  • But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ (Ephesians 4:15).
  • But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil (Hebrews 5:14).
  • As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby (1 Peter 2:2).
  • But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen (2 Peter 3:18).

Do you understand that maturity is a process? Do you see how people can mature spiritually?

There are several metaphors in the verses above:
  • a palm tree
  • a cedar tree
  • calves
  • a mature man, eating steak
  • newborn babies

How are we to grow? Our “food” is the Bible, and our experiences in Christ help to mature us. We begin with milk and grow up to be able to eat steak. We give ourselves the opportunities to learn and grow in wisdom. A cedar doesn’t grow in a year, and neither does a palm tree. Newborn Christians aren’t able to handle meat—just as a physical newborn can’t chew or digest it. Discernment doesn’t come in a day. It takes time, ingesting the Word of God, and experiencing God’s working in our lives. Wisdom comes as we apply Truth. We grow and learn.

Many Christians can find themselves in one of these three categories:
  1. The Zealots—I want to know all the Bible now! I am excited, and I want spiritual maturity now!
  2. The Sloths—I’ll get around to Christian growth when I can. Not in a hurry. I’m young, and when I get to it, I’ll get to it. For now ....
  3. The Man at the Plow—This guy walks behind the plow and makes furrow after furrow, until the whole field is ready. He’s a plodder, and as he works, he learns and grows and matures.

Which one are you? These three biblical images might help you visualize your life. Are you patiently growing and maturing? As you grow, are you helping your children grow in their Christian life? Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? Them that are weaned from the milk .... For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little (Isaiah 28:9-10).

Let’s be learning the Bible! Let’s be teaching it to our children. Let’s grow up and be spiritual adults. It’s a process.


*Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Fiction Review: Trial by Twelve

Trial by Twelve, by Heather Day Gilbert is the second book in her Murder in the Mountains series. It’s the sequel to Miranda Warning (You can read my review here.), which I recommend you read first, though Trial by Twelve can stand on its own. 

This book starts each chapter with letters from an estranged father to his child. You don’t know either who the father is or the child—until the end of the book. Then, the story is told. Tess works at the Crystal Mountain Spa in West Virginia. The spa is a tony place where the clientele can get massages, different baths and treatments, in a ritzy atmosphere—incense and candles included. Tess, married mother of a toddler, is an attractive, young, pistol packing kind of West Virginia woman. She works with elegant Dani, who’s small and fashionable. Teeny defies his name, and he’s the masseuse—and a flirt.

As backhoes arrive to install an outdoor pool, they find human remains. Unfortunately, the remains seem to multiply as you flip the pages. New bodies, old corpses, and all killed in the same way: a crossbow. Who’s the killer? Almost everyone seems like they might be. Tess’s husband becomes concerned. Why should she be hanging out in harm’s way? Several people close to her had already disappeared.

You’ll enjoy this exciting murder mystery. It’s clean and well written, and the author is a Christian from West Virginia. Trial by Twelve has an authentic feel to it. (I have a feeling the author carries, too!) There are several spa resorts in West Virginia, and I can definitely imagine one of them holding some secrets.

Four stars.