Spiritual Adulting Is Hard

You know what is really hard? Spiritual adulting.

“Adulting” as a verb is relatively new. It was on the Oxford shortlist for “word of the year” in 2016. The Oxford online dictionary defines it as: “The practice of behaving in a way characteristic of a responsible adult, especially the accomplishment of mundane but necessary tasks.” Here is their example usage: “It feels really good to take a step back from adulting and have someone else cook dinner for me.”

It’s only as funny as it is destructive. The love and embrace of childishness crossed a cultural threshold where it has become so bad, and so endemic, that it’s more comfortable to laugh about it than to cry about it. We do not live in an age that cares about maturity.

Even as Christians we can tend to talk about spiritual growth, about spiritual fruit, without talking about spiritual maturity. Let’s call it spiritual adulting. The author to the Hebrews scolded his readers:

You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. (Hebrews 5:12b–14)

These were not new believers. They had been at it for a while; “by this time you ought to be teachers” (the first part of verse 12). But they were not at the point of τέλειος, of being “mature.” And what does maturity look like? It looks like having and using power to discern good from evil.

Here are some sample questions for Christian grown ups and those who should be growing up in Christ.

  • What does spiritually adulting Facebook engagement look like? What do spiritual adults “like”? What do they complain about, and how?
  • What do spiritually adulting sleepovers look like? This is for younger ladies, but they should be thinking about it. What games would they play? How would they talk?
  • What do spiritually adulting Halloween parties and and costumes look like?
  • What does spiritually adulting movie watching look like? This is not just about adult viewing, but spiritually mature adult viewing.