Quick! Do a calculation for me! Count how many years you have been a Christian. Start with your current age, and subtract the age you were when you became a Christian.
You won’t have to tell anybody, just do this for your own edification. Currently I am fifty-five years old and was baptized at twelve. I have been a Christian, then, for forty-three years.
We would expect a forty-three year-old man to be reasonably mature. We would expect him to have a productive job, to contribute to society, and no doubt to be looking after a family.
So how are you doing? Could we have a little fun and assign some expectations for Christians by age?
A five-year-old Christian, while not completely independent, has chores and responsibilities. He should be able to feed and dress himself, and to be learning how to read and write. A ten-year-old should be more mature. He might be holding down a newspaper delivery job or mowing lawns. A twenty-year-old Christian is either in college receiving higher education, or has a full-time job.
Well, you get the idea.
The Bible says that God expects us to grow spiritually: “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18, ESV).
It is unnatural to be a Christian for a prolonged period of time and not be taking on the responsibilities of a mature, adult Christian. “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the basic principles of the oracles of God” (Hebrews 5:12).
Two year-olds throw temper tantrums, demand their way, or say angry, hurtful things to others. They are also dependent on others for almost every aspect of their survival. Forty–year-olds should be mature and responsible. They are not a drain on a congregation’s resources, they contribute to them.
I am not suggesting that everyone must preach or teach a Bible class. I am suggesting that everyone who is a mature Christian makes a positive contribution to a congregation’s health and well being. If you are a mature Christian, ask yourself these questions:
- What is my role in the church? If I don’t have one, when should I volunteer to have one?
- When I see a congregational weakness, do I complain about it or do I fill in the gaps and meet those needs?
- Am I a drain on the congregation, or do I add to its programs, its ability to carry out its mission?
- Do I generally get along with brethren, or am I continually at odds with others?
- Do I make people around me better, or do my words cause them to be bitter and cynical about my brethren?
It’s not easy to take this sort of introspection. But it is necessary sometimes. We all need improvement on the issue of Christian maturity, and we should never stop growing.