Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Parents, Children and Maturity

And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.” ―1 John 2:28

Regardless of the subject we’re studying in the Bible, we should to start with an aerial view: we need to see the big picture, and we need to see the ideal picture. Few of us (if any) are in ideal circumstances. In fact, we’re usually in situations that are far from the ideal. Nevertheless, the ideal—the perfect—is the goal. In fact, the Greek word in the Bible that is often translated “mature,” is sometimes translated “perfect,” or “of full age.”

Our children start as children but the goal is for us to raise adults, not children. Maturity is the object, and it’s the object of every lesson, every day. However, before we turn our attention to helping our children mature we must remember that we too are children who are being raised up to maturity. The Apostle Paul said that his goal was to “present every man perfect in Christ Jesus” (Col. 1:28).  He continues, describing himself in these terms:

Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. 16 Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind. ―Philippians 3:12-16

As parents, even as we seek the maturity of our own children, we must constantly have before us that God is at work in us (as His little children) to bring us into conformity to His Son; the One who is the picture of maturity and perfection. God uses our own children as a big part of the process to mature us. Moreover, it will be difficult for our children to ever rise above our own maturity (or lack thereof). Therefore, the Bible always begins with us and our duties and responsibilities. If our children are to learn to love God and their neighbors they will have to first see it in us.

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