Last week I had the chance to sit at the feet of Pastor Kevin Myers from 12 Stone Church in Atlanta at a Continuing Ed event. One of the things he said that resonated with me is that our path towards mature spirituality is completely backwards from what is normally expected of us. If you think about parents parenting their children, the whole goal is to move a baby from complete dependence on you to adulthood independence. Culturally and physiologically we are moving from dependence to independence. Until we encounter Jesus and that gets turned upside down.
The journey of maturing spiritually means we go from a place of complete independence to a place of total dependence on Jesus. It’s heading in exactly the opposite direction than we have been working our whole younger years in life. This struck me in a couple of ways.
First of all, it is counter intuitive to all of us to move towards a place of dependence on anyone or anything. No wonder it is hard for us to practice our spiritual disciplines. We are having to learn how to pray for dependence. We are having to learn how to lean on others and on God as signs of spiritual maturity and that is difficult for many of us. Except maybe older adults who are starting to experience the trend back towards dependence on others for every day living. Then faithfulness may coincide with their maturing process.
It also strikes me as a spiritual reason why the generation in their 20’s are always hard for the church to reach. That is the crossroads stage of life where young adults are in their prime of flexing their hard earned independence and the last thing they are interested in hearing about is spiritual talk about depending on God. They have just gained independence from their earthly parents and from many societal laws. They are trying to make sense of it all. It’s a message that is hard for them to hear.
Quite frankly, I’ve never made that connection before. Part of young adult’s natural pull away from church is because that crossroads of independence/dependence is pretty hard to navigate and figure out which direction you are supposed to be heading.
Well, regardless of how old you are, how are you doing with that pathway towards spiritual dependence on God? Are you able to take leaps of faith knowing God will cover you? Have you figured out the pure joy and comfort in resting in the arms of Jesus and yielding your life and your spirit to Him? It takes practice and diligence to overcome our inner messages of independence. But when you figure this out, yielding brings deep peace and contentment and ultimately, aren’t those common goals in life for most of us?
May your path lead right into the loving arms of Jesus with the sweet knowledge that yielding your life to Him is the most mature decision you can make today.
Grace and Peace,