Growing up is a natural part of life that we all experience. It marks the transition from childhood to adulthood, bringing new responsibilities, challenges, and opportunities. For Christians, growing up also means growing in faith and developing a deeper relationship with God.
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The Bible has a lot to say about growing up. Key themes include taking on responsibility, gaining wisdom, controlling sinful desires, finding identity in Christ, using gifts for God’s glory, and maturing in faith and character.
In this comprehensive article, we will explore various biblical perspectives on growing up and becoming spiritually mature. We will look at relevant verses and passages across both the Old and New Testaments.
Taking On Responsibility
As children grow into adults, the Bible encourages them to take on more responsibility in life. This includes providing for their families, stewarding resources well, and serving others.
Providing For Family
The Bible teaches that adults should work hard to provide for their families. 1 Timothy 5:8 states, “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
“Adults should find worthwhile employment so they can meet the material needs of their families.
In addition to meeting physical needs, adults also provide emotional and spiritual care for their families. They offer love, support, discipline, and guidance to help children grow in godly character. Wise parents “bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).
Taking on responsibility for one’s family is a hallmark of maturity.
The Bible also instructs believers to steward resources like time, talents, and money well. For instance, in the Parable of the Talents, Jesus praises servants who invested their master’s money and earned a return, rather than hiding what they had been given (Matthew 25:14-30).
Adults are called to make the most of what God has entrusted to them.
|“Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity” (Ephesians 5:15-16)
|“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others” (1 Peter 4:10)
|“No one can serve two masters…You cannot serve both God and money” (Matthew 6:24)
Rather than living selfishly, maturity involves managing resources wisely for God’s glory.
Finally, the Bible calls believers to look out for the interests of others and serve them through kindness and compassion. As Galatians 5:13 states, “Serve one another humbly in love.” Adults live this out through volunteering, mentoring the next generation, supporting missionaries, giving financially to those in need, and being active in their local church.
Jesus modeled a life of service, saying, “I am among you as the one who serves” (Luke 22:27). The more responsibility Christians take on in serving, the more they display true Christlike maturity.
Gaining Wisdom and Discernment
As young people mature in their faith, it becomes increasingly important to seek wise counsel from others. This allows them to gain valuable perspective and insight that they may not have on their own. Some ways to seek godly counsel include:
- Talking with parents and mentors who have more life experience and spiritual maturity.
- Meeting with pastors, youth leaders, and small group leaders who can provide biblical guidance.
- Finding an older, spiritually mature believer to serve as a mentor.
- Seeking advice from trusted friends who share similar values and faith.
When seeking counsel, it’s important to have an open and humble attitude, being willing to listen to hard truths and accept accountability. The book of Proverbs says “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed” (Proverbs 15:22).
Surrounding oneself with godly advisors is crucial for gaining wisdom.
One of the most vital ways for young believers to grow in spiritual wisdom and discernment is by studying God’s Word. As Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” Regularly reading the Bible exposes us to God’s truths, commands, and principles for life.
Here are some tips for studying Scripture effectively:
- Set aside consistent time each day to read the Bible.
- Attend a Bible study group to discuss and apply God’s Word.
- Meditate on scriptures and ask God to reveal their meaning.
- Use study aids like commentaries to enhance understanding.
- Memorize key verses to have wisdom readily available.
- Apply biblical truth in everyday decisions and interactions.
The more young people engage with Scripture, the more it renews their minds and transforms their actions (Romans 12:2). Bible study is essential for gaining discernment to navigate life’s challenges.
Praying for Insight
In addition to seeking counsel and studying the Bible, prayer is a powerful way for young Christians to gain wisdom and discernment from God. Through prayer, we humbly admit our dependence on God’s guidance and open ourselves to the leading of His Spirit. Praying for insight involves:
- Asking God to reveal His will in decisions big and small.
- Seeking discernment to know right from wrong.
- Petitioning for clarity amidst confusion or doubt.
- Praying that the Holy Spirit will lead us into truth.
- Asking God to develop spiritual maturity and godly character.
As James 1:5 assures, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” Humility in prayer allows God to shape our thoughts and attitudes more into alignment with His perfect will.
Regularly seeking the Father’s insight is crucial on the journey to wise adulthood.
Controlling Sinful Desires
Giving in to sinful desires can damage our relationship with God. The Bible advises us to flee from temptation and sources of sin whenever possible (2 Timothy 2:22). This may involve physically removing ourselves from environments or relationships that could lead us astray.
For example, if someone struggles with lust, they may need to install internet filters or accountability software. Avoiding temptation requires self-control, wisdom and asking God for help to take the right action (James 1:5).
Renewing the Mind
In addition to fleeing temptation, renewing our minds is key to managing sinful thoughts and behavior. As Romans 12:2 explains, we must be transformed by having our minds renewed according to God’s will as revealed in Scripture.
This involves regularly reading, studying and meditating on Bible verses and godly principles. Memorizing key passages helps us recall truth when we face temptation. As our thinking changes, our actions follow. Renewing our minds is a lifelong process as we deepen our relationship with Christ.
Rather than merely resisting temptation, believers are called to pursue holiness and righteousness. As Hebrews 12:14 says, “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.”
This means prioritizing prayer, Scripture, fellowship with other Christians, and Spirit-led obedience in all areas of life. By walking in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5:25), He empowers us to produce His fruit: “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).
Staying accountable to mature believers provides invaluable support and encouragement along the journey. With God’s help, a lifestyle of holiness is possible as we consistently pursue Him.
Finding Identity in Christ
Not Conforming to the World
As Christians, we are called to find our identity in Christ rather than conforming to the patterns of this world (Romans 12:2). This means evaluating our values, interests, and lifestyles in light of God’s truth. The world promotes self-centeredness, but Scripture calls us to live for God’s glory.
The world applauds seeking status, recognition, and material gain, but Christ reminds us that living for earthly treasure leads to emptiness (Matthew 6:19-21). God desires us to renew our minds to become more like Jesus.
We must be careful not to absorb the world’s philosophies or blindly follow its trends. The truth is that fallen culture often runs counter to biblical principles. We should prayerfully examine aspects of society, including media, music, and social trends, and allow the Holy Spirit to shape our minds and hearts according to Kingdom values.
As we fix our eyes on Jesus, we gain proper perspective to live as children of light (Ephesians 5:8).
The process of finding our identity in Christ involves being inwardly transformed. 2 Corinthians 3:18 explains that as we behold the glory of the Lord, we are transformed into His image by the Spirit. This happens gradually, as we walk in intimate relationship with God.
The more we get to know Christ through studying Scripture, praying, worshiping, and obeying Him, the more our inner self changes to become like Him.
An important result of this transformation is discovering who we truly are in Christ. We no longer need to strive to create our own identity or measure ourselves by worldly standards. Instead, we gain self-worth from being completely loved and accepted by God.
As adopted sons and daughters of the King, we can rest securely in who He says we are (Romans 8:14-17). Understanding our identity empowers us to live boldly according to our true identity as God’s dearly loved children.
Discovering Spiritual Gifts
An exciting part of finding our identity in Christ is discovering the spiritual gifts He has given us. 1 Corinthians 12 explains that God equips every believer with spiritual gifts for the purpose of building up the church.
These gifts reflect God’s vision and calling for how He wants us to serve the body of Christ.
Seeking God to reveal our gifts opens our eyes to the special ways He has crafted us. Using these gifts allows us to fulfill our role in the body, which gives a sense of meaning and belonging. Ephesians 4:11-16 describes how God knits the church together in unity as each member works properly according to their gifts.
Discovering how God has uniquely gifted us is part of understanding who He has made us to be in Christ.
Using Gifts to Serve God
Stewarding Gifts Well
The Bible teaches that all believers have been given gifts and talents by God to use for His glory and to build up the church (1 Corinthians 12:7, Ephesians 4:11-16). As stewards of these gifts, Christians should seek to develop and employ them in service to others, not for selfish gain or pride.
Some practical ways to be a good steward include:
- Discovering your gifts through prayer, wise counsel, assessment tools, and life experience.
- Nurturing your gifts through practice, training, education, and accountability.
- Using your gifts consistently and enthusiastically in ministry and service.
- Being open to adapting how you use your gifts as needs and opportunities change.
- Giving God the glory for the gifts He has given you.
Proper stewardship requires intentionality, humility, faithfulness, and dependence on God’s strength. As we steward gifts well, God is able to maximize their impact for the advancement of His kingdom.
Building Up the Church
God has appointed some to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers to equip the saints for the work of ministry, so that the body of Christ may be built up (Ephesians 4:11-12). Every believer can contribute to building up the church by using their unique gifts and talents.
Here are some key ways:
- Teachers, preachers, and those gifted in knowledge can instruct sound doctrine and offer biblical wisdom.
- Encouragers can build up the weary and strengthen the fainthearted.
- Givers can generously provide resources for ministry needs.
- Administrators can organize efforts, develop structures, and mobilize people.
- Artists, musicians, and creatives can lead people in worship through their gifts.
- Evangelists and intercessors can help bring people to Christ through outreach and prayer.
When each part of the body works properly, the church grows mature in Christ and is equipped for every good work (Ephesians 4:16). Using gifts to build up one another displays Christ’s self-sacrificial love.
Advancing the Gospel
God gifts His people not only for building up the church, but for advancing the Gospel to those who need Christ. Our gifts become a platform for ministry. For example:
- Teachers can create accessible Bible studies or disciple new believers.
- Writers can author books, blogs, or articles to teach biblical truth.
- Evangelists can creatively share the Gospel in their sphere of influence.
- Intercessors can pray fervently for the lost and for open doors for the Gospel.
- Givers can fund missions, church plants, and outreach ministries.
- Artists can write songs, films, or plays that call people to follow Jesus.
When believers steward their gifts for Gospel impact, many come to faith in Christ (Matthew 25:14-30). We must be vigilant to use what God has given us for the Great Commission, not just personal gain. As we are faithful in small things, God will expand our opportunities to serve.
Maturing in Faith and Character
Growing in Love
As we grow and mature as Christians, one essential area of growth is in love. The Bible calls us to “walk in love” (Ephesians 5:2), following Christ’s example of sacrificial, servant-hearted love. This type of agape love seeks the good of others above self.
It involves moving past superficial affection to care deeply and act compassionately towards those in need (1 John 3:17-18). As we yield more fully to the Holy Spirit, He cultivates His fruit of love within us (Galatians 5:22). Our capacity to cherish, nurture, encourage, and forgive expands.
Biblical love also increasingly permeates our relationships—with God, our families, our brothers and sisters in Christ, our neighbors, and even our enemies. We become less selfish and more thoughtful of others’ needs. Our words and deeds communicate value, empathy, and grace.
We build others up rather than tear them down (Ephesians 4:29). This growth in love is a beautiful sign of spiritual maturity.
Life as a Christian is full of both blessings and hardships. Walking faithfully with God overtime requires perseverance through trials and struggles. Thankfully, Scripture promises that as we mature, God develops perseverance within us (Romans 5:3-4).
He uses challenges to build our character, equip us to minister to others, and make us more like Christ.
Battling persistent sin requires perseverance. So does navigating family issues, work difficulties, relationship conflicts and other complex of life situations. As we grow, we become less discouraged by hiccups on the journey.
We lean into godly community and spiritual practices to keep renewing our strength (Isaiah 40:31). We learn to patiently endure in hope, instead of giving up when the going gets tough. Embracing this mindset shift is a key marker of maturity.
Becoming More Like Christ
Ultimately, the goal as Christians is to radiate Jesus’ likeness in how we live, love and lead. As we mature, we increasingly “put on Christ” as our model and motivation (Romans 13:14). Our actions, priorities and perspectives align more closely with His righteous and compassionate example.
We develop His servant heart and reach out to the marginalized and hurting. We embrace sacrificial living for the sake of others. His Word transforms how we think, anchoring us in Kingdom values rather than worldly ones. People start to notice glimpses of Jesus in our lives.
And while we will always be imperfect, this Christlikeness serves as a litmus test for spiritual maturity. As the Bible reminds us, “He must become greater; I must become less” (John 3:30). Our life’s purpose is reflecting the glory of Christ.
In summary, the Bible provides extensive guidance on growing up both naturally and spiritually. Key principles include taking on responsibility, gaining wisdom, resisting sin, finding identity in Christ, using gifts for God’s glory, and pursuing maturity in faith and character.
As we transition into adulthood, we can look to Scripture for encouragement, wisdom and direction every step of the way.
Growing up is a journey we all share as Christians. By clinging to biblical truths, we can grow into mature and faithful followers of Christ.