We determined that the culture defines “grown” as the state people are in
- When they have reached a certain age,
- When they can be expected to take care of themselves and
- When they have the privilege of doing what they choose—as long as it does not infringe on anyone else’s pleasure or liberty.
Key belief in the culture: Unless what they’re doing is undermining the quality of someone else’s life, they should not be judged.
None of the culture’s criteria makes God’s list.
From God’s perspective:
To be a mature adult is to have the same options as other adults, but limiting yourself to what is acceptable to the Father.
This may sound restrictive, but we can trust what the Father wills because
- What the Father wills is good.
- What the Father wills is good for you.
- What the father wills is good for everyone else.
God wants you to flourish.
Let’s paint of fuller picture of floursh by looking at a couple of words that are associated with it in the plant world: Blossem and Bloom
- Blossem: When a plant produces flowers
- When a flower opens up to reveal its beauty and signals to bees that it is ready for pollination, which is part of the process of reproduction.
- [“Tejas Gavade (Quora Website)] “A blooming flower is a flower that has opened up and fully revealed its petals, which may have been tightly closed or partially open before. It is often associated with growth, beauty, and vitality.”
- [Oxford online dictionary] “the state or period of greatest beauty, freshness, or vigor.”
- [Oxford online dictionary] “come into or be in full beauty or healthy”
Blossoming and blooming draw together three interrelated concepts:
When you’re healthy, your most attractive qualities (inside and out) are on display and you are poised for development, expansion and multiplication.
- Development = growth into fuller and more intricately specialized and advanced parts
Perpetuating the Good
Development, expansion, and multiplication perpetuate the good of your existence.
Based on that fact alone, God wants you to grow so that more of the good in you can be perpetuated, expressed and promoted in the earth.
- Your purpose is not yours because it belongs to you but because it was assigned to you.
- Your growth fulfills God’s purpose for you.
Ephesians 4:11–16 (ESV): 11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
Three Principles of Growth
- 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,
- 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,
- Jesus is God’s definition of adulthood.
- The more you are like Christ, the more of an adult you are.
- 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
- In Christ, “grown” is a collective status, not an individual one.
- You’re grown when we’re grown.
- 16 . . .so that it builds itself up in love.
- Matthew 22:35–40 (ESV): 35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
- There are three objects of love:
- Our love walk must grow in all three areas
- Growing in our love for Him
- Growing in our love for self
- Growing in our love of others
Growing in love is inseparable from. . .
- Growing in the knowledge of Him
- Growing in the knowledge of self
- Growing in the knowledge of others
© Joshua D. Smith, Ph.D., 2024