Scripture Reading: 1 John 2
“How old are you?”
As a kid, I had to be told a few times that whatever I was asking at the time was not a polite question to ask. It struck me as unfair at the time—why was it fine for people to ask about my age but not for me to ask them? Still, with time, I was beginning to understand what they meant.
In 1 John 12-14, the author talks about three age groups: children, people who are mature, and people who are young. He’s not referring to anyone’s actual age here, but to their spiritual age. I think we all realize those are two vastly different things. I know people who are younger than me who are much more spiritually mature, and there are people older than me who, spiritually, are yet to be born (in the sense that they haven’t yet been born again in Christ).
When the author speaks about those “who are young in the faith,” he’s not necessarily referring to those who are spiritually immature. The language here is more closely describing someone in his or her prime—strong and vibrant. Those who are young in the faith are often marked by passion. Sometimes they are described as the “‘front-line’ of God’s work among his people” and as being “engaged in battle.”
Those “who are mature in the faith,” on the other hand, are marked in these verses as having knowledge—“because you know Christ, who existed from the beginning” (vs. 13).
Now, I don’t think this is to say those who are spiritually mature shouldn’t be passionate or that those who are spiritually young can’t be wise. However, I think there is a shift in priorities as we grow older in our faith. For those who are young in the faith, it’s crucial to stay strong, not shying away from spiritual battles but facing them boldly. We should be passionate in learning about our faith, investing in our relationship with Christ, and sharing the Gospel.
While those things are definitely important for Christians of all spiritual ages, as we grow more mature in our faith, it becomes increasingly important to pass down our knowledge to those spiritually younger than us. That’s not to say those who are spiritually young shouldn’t be investing in those younger than them—they absolutely should be. But the more mature you are in your faith, the more you have to teach and share.
So I ask, spiritually speaking: How old are you?
Christians of all spiritual ages can rest assured in these two truths: firstly, we know the Father, and secondly, our sins—yours and mine—have been forgiven.
Which spiritual age group do you think you fall into? Do your priorities align with that group?
If you’re “young in the faith,” find ways to boldly engage with your faith, your calling, and your purpose. If you’re “mature in the faith,” find Christians who are spiritually younger than you to teach and invest in.
Heavenly Father, thank you for the passion of those who are spiritually young, who can boldly look at the battles we all face, helping all of us to have faith. Thank you for those who are spiritually mature, who can help us to grow in wisdom and understanding. Thank you that we all have been forgiven through Christ’s sacrifice. Help us to know you more and more each day. May your will be done. Amen.
This post was written by Payton Lechner. Payton is currently the apprentice copywriter at CedarCreek. In her spare time, she freelances as a writer and editor. Besides the English language, Payton loves swimming, cats, and a good cup of tea.
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