Growing up is a natural part of life that we all experience. As children, we long for the freedom and responsibility that comes with adulthood. But the transition from childhood to adulthood can also be challenging, as we face new temptations, responsibilities, and hardships. What guidance does the Bible offer about this crucial season of life? There is much wisdom we can gain from God’s word about growing up and maturing into Christ-like adulthood. In this comprehensive blog post, we will explore key biblical principles about growing up and becoming mature disciples of Jesus Christ.
- Growing up requires gaining wisdom and discernment
- Maturing in faith means developing spiritual disciplines like Bible reading, prayer, fellowship, and service
- God desires us to grow into the image of Christ and live responsibly
- Hardships and trials are allowed by God to mature our faith and character
- Maturity brings freedom but also responsibility to make wise, godly choices
- Youthful lusts must be rejected to live righteously as an adult
- Growing up well means honoring authorities and parents while transitioning into independence
- Wise mentorship aids growth, while peer pressure can impede it
- Childlike faith, humility, and trust in God should be maintained even with maturity
- Key Takeaways:
- Growing Up Requires Gaining Wisdom and Discernment
- Maturing in Faith Means Developing Spiritual Disciplines
- God Desires Us to Grow Into the Image of Christ
- Maturity Brings Freedom But Also Responsibility
- Hardships and Trials Mature Our Faith and Character
- Maturity Means Making Wise, Godly Choices
- Youthful Lusts Must Be Rejected to Live Righteously as Adults
- Honoring Authorities While Transitioning Into Independence
- Wise Mentorship Aids Growth While Pressure Can Impede It
- Childlike Faith and Humility Should Be Maintained
Growing Up Requires Gaining Wisdom and Discernment
A key part of growing up according to the Bible is developing wisdom and discernment. As children, our thinking is often naive and short-sighted. But God calls us to mature in our perspective and judgments. Proverbs 4:7 states, “Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding.” As we grow, we must seek wisdom and understanding from God’s word. Jesus grew in wisdom and stature (Luke 2:52). We are exhorted, “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:15-17). Even if we are older in years, we must continue to grow in wisdom and discernment. “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food” (Hebrews 5:12).
Growing in wisdom requires humbly fearing the Lord, rather than leaning on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-7). Wisdom begins with reverence for God. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments” (Psalm 111:10). As we grow up, we must learn to view life from God’s perspective, considering His values, purposes, and plans. This wisdom then helps us make wise decisions and walk in discernment. We develop discernment by prayerfully studying God’s word and learning from mature believers. But wisdom also grows through life experience. “Solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil” (Hebrews 5:14). As we apply God’s word to life, we gain discernment for making wise, godly choices.
Maturing in Faith Means Developing Spiritual Disciplines
An important aspect of Christian maturity highlighted in the Bible is developing spiritual disciplines. Childhood is often characterized by shallow spirituality that is dependent on others. But God desires us to grow into self-fed, discerning believers who proactively nourish our faith. We must develop spiritual disciplines to grow and “progress in the faith” (1 Timothy 4:15).
Critical disciplines for spiritual growth include:
Bible Reading/Study – “Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation” (1 Peter 2:2). By regularly reading/hearing God’s word, we nourish our souls and renew our minds (Psalm 1:1-3, Romans 12:2). Through study, we gain wisdom.
Prayer – “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving” (Colossians 4:2). Prayer is essential spiritual “breathing” and connects us to the Holy Spirit’s power. Persistent prayer characterizes mature believers (Luke 18:1).
Fellowship – “Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another” (Hebrews 10:24-25). We grow through mutual edification, counsel, and accountability with other believers.
Service/Generosity – “But be doers of the word…Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction” (James 1:22,27). Serving & giving expand our hearts, put faith into action, and grow character.
Worship – “…be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart” (Ephesians 5:18-19). Regular worship reminds us of God’s greatness and grows our love and awe of Him.
By making these practices regular lifelong habits, we will keep progressing in Christian maturity rather than stagnating in complacency.
God Desires Us to Grow Into the Image of Christ
A key purpose of growing up highlighted in the Bible is becoming like Jesus Christ. “And we all…are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another” (2 Corinthians 3:18). “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29). God’s ultimate goal for our lives is Christlikeness. Maturing in faith means increasingly manifesting Jesus’ character – His love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children” (Ephesians 5:1). Our spiritual growth glorifies God as we better represent Him.
Becoming like Christ requires ongoing repentance and dependence on the Holy Spirit to transform us. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23). As we yield to the Spirit’s work, He produces His godly fruit in us. Through obeying God’s word, we are sanctified (John 17:17). Our minds are renewed, so we can know God’s will (Romans 12:2). Hardships play a role in this growth process, as they refine our faith like gold (1 Peter 1:7). Gradually, the image of Christ emerges in us by God’s grace.
Maturity Brings Freedom But Also Responsibility
The Bible often connects growing up with increasing freedom and responsibility. As children under parents and guardians, our actions were restricted. But adults have more liberty. Paul says, “So also we, while we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. But when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son” (Galatians 4:3). Adulthood brings freedom from childhood constraints.
However, with greater freedom comes greater obligation to live wisely and faithfully steward our choices. “Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God” (1 Peter 2:16). We are called to honor authorities but also obey our conscience: “Pay to all what is owed to them…Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law” (Romans 13:7,8).
Maturity requires using our freedom to love others, choose righteousness, and serve God wholeheartedly without external pressure but internal devotion. Paul says, “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 gave up childish ways” (1 Corinthians 13:11). Growing up means taking responsibility for oneself instead of behaving immaturely or irresponsibly.
Hardships and Trials Mature Our Faith and Character
While childhood is often carefree, the Bible indicates that maturing in faith also involves facing hardships that refine us. “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness” (James 1:2-3). Paul says figuratively of his apostolic team, “Yet God has so composed the body…that there may be no division…but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together” (1 Corinthians 12:24-26). Lifelong discipleship means standing with others amid suffering.
Hardships that accompany growing up can include: loss of health, grief over loved ones’ deaths, family conflicts, relationship breakups, job uncertainties, failures/disappointments, life transitions, doubts, anxieties, persecution, spiritual warfare, and trials of many kinds. But God uses difficulties to develop perseverance, proven character, and confident hope (Romans 5:3-4). “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope” (Romans 5:3-4).
When hardships come, we must maintain integrity and faith despite doubts. The psalmist laments, “How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day?” (Psalm 13:2) Yet he affirms, “But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation” (Psalm 13:5). Our faith is proven genuine through enduring trials (1 Peter 1:6-7, James 1:12). So through life’s difficulties, we can mature in Christlike character as we cling to God in faith and obedience.
Maturity Means Making Wise, Godly Choices
A key indicator of maturity highlighted in the Bible is learning to make wise, godly choices independently – rather than letting sin, peer pressure, worldly values, or fleshly impulses control us. “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 gave up childish ways” (1 Corinthians 13:11). Adulthood means taking responsibility for ourselves. Mature believers have “their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil” (Hebrews 5:14).
Wise choices require understanding and obeying God’s word. “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105). God’s commands define righteousness: “Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name” (Psalm 86:11). But we must also use discernment to apply biblical principles to daily situations. “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom” (James 3:13). Maturity involves learning to make decisions guided by Scriptural wisdom – choosing righteousness, rejecting wickedness, and living responsibly before God and others.
Youthful Lusts Must Be Rejected to Live Righteously as Adults
Since adulthood brings greater independence, we face increased temptation to pursue sinful desires. But Scripture exhorts believers to reject ungodly passions as we grow up. “So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander” (1 Peter 2:1). Rather than indulging fleshly cravings, we must “abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul” (1 Peter 2:11). Sexual immorality is a prime example of youthful lusts that lead to ruin and must be avoided. “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body” (1 Corinthians 6:18).
Instead of fleshly indulgence, God calls us to pursue righteousness, self-control, and good works as maturing believers. “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age” (Titus 2:11-12). Our passions and desires must be transformed and directed to pleasing Christ. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2). Faithful adulthood means leaving sin behind and pursuing Christlike virtue by God’s power.
Honoring Authorities While Transitioning Into Independence
Growing up also means appropriately transitioning from childhood submission to adult independence. As children, we are called to obey parents: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother’ (this is the first commandment with a promise)” (Ephesians 6:1-2). But adults have greater freedom and responsibility. Scripture says, “So Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52). We grow by taking ownership of our choices while still honoring those in authority. Paul asserts his spiritual authority yet calls believers to imitate him voluntarily (1 Corinthians 4:14-16).
This transition requires mutual understanding between parents and maturing children. Parents must avoid exasperating children but nurture their growth (Ephesians 6:4, Colossians 3:21). Adult children must manage increased freedom and responsibility well. “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:15-17). As we grow up, we shift from obeying rules to discerning and choosing righteousness. But we never outgrow honoring our parents and heeding wise counsel. “Listen to your father who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old” (Proverbs 23:22). Maturing well means blending deference and independence.
Wise Mentorship Aids Growth While Pressure Can Impede It
According to Scripture, maturing believers benefit greatly from guidance by spiritual leaders and mentors. Moses mentored Joshua (Deuteronomy 31:7-8). Elijah trained Elisha to succeed him (1 Kings 19:16). Jesus spent 3 years discipling His followers. Paul mentored Timothy and Titus as they led churches. Godly mentors can provide wisdom, perspective, and accountability to help us progress in Christlike maturity. “Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance” (Proverbs 1:5).
However, the Bible also warns that peer pressure can impede good growth rather than promoting it. “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals.’” (1 Corinthians 15:33). As we grow up, we must be discerning about whom we allow to influence us. “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:1-2). Seeking guidance only from those exhibiting maturity and wisdom in Christ will foster our own spiritual growth. But peers pressuring us toward foolishness, sin, or compromise will stunt our development.
Childlike Faith and Humility Should Be Maintained
A final significant biblical theme about growing up is that maturing does not mean losing positive childlike qualities of sincere faith and humility. Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it” (Mark 10:15). Childlike trust and humility should remain even as we grow mature. “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 gave up childish ways” (1 Corinthians 13:11). Childishness must yield to maturity, yet childlikeness allows us to simply believe and receive the kingdom.
Remaining childlike as we grow enables us to receive correction and guidance humbly: “Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:4). It keeps us dependent on God rather than trusting ourselves: “And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven’” (Matthew 18:3). A childlike heart believes without demanding signs and wonders (Matthew 16:4). It approaches God simply and sincerely as a loving heavenly Father (Matthew 7:7-11). Therefore, maturing in faith means gaining wisdom and responsibility with humility, trust, and receptivity to God’s work. This childlike posture honors the Lord and enables ongoing growth.
Growing up well is a challenging but crucial process if we desire to honor God with our lives. By gaining wisdom and discernment, nurturing spiritual disciplines, yielding to Christ’s image being formed in us, embracing responsibility, persevering through hardships, making wise choices, rejecting sinful desires, relating properly to authorities, seeking godly influences, and maintaining childlike faith, we can mature as disciples who increasingly love, know, and serve the Lord. While youthful freedom beckons, God calls us to greater maturity. By following biblical principles amidst life’s journey, we can grow up to become faithful, fruitful, Christlike adults who finish this race well for God’s glory.