There is a little girl here at Hope Church that, when talking about adults, says “growing-ups” rather than “grown-ups”. It’s a cute little mistake in words but there really is something to that. What if we were to all see ourselves as “growing-ups” rather than “grown-ups”?
The Apostle Paul had a similar outlook when it came to his own maturity. In Philippians 3, Paul talks about his former position and prestige and self-righteousness. He says that he excelled above his peers in all these things; in other words – he made it! He had achieved what most people could only dream of. But then he goes on to say this:
“But whatever gain I had, I counted loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith – that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.”
Now, this sounds like a tall order – and that’s because it is! But Paul didn’t say these things as if he were boasting, listen to what he goes on to say afterwards:
“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained.”
Paul confesses here that he is not “grown-up” he is “growing-up” into the “upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” He even goes on to say that those who mature will think the same way. Therefore, the true mark of maturity in Christ is not that we are complete, but it is the recognition that we have so much more maturing to do. Conversely, it is immature of us to view ourselves as fully matured. If we view ourselves as being mature it, ironically, causes us to be – and remain – immature. We can only grow when we realize that we need to. So maybe we should follow that little girl and start calling ourselves “growing-ups” as a reminder that we are all still in the process of “growing up” into the image of Christ.