Growing older isn’t really a choice we can make, given our options. However, growing older and growing up are two different matters altogether. When we were children or perhaps later, when we acted like irresponsible teens, we were all admonished at times to “grow up!” Those words of advice were probably well intended, but the more I’ve thought about it, I don’t think it’s such a good suggestion.
An argument could be made from Scripture that God’s desire is for us all to remain children at heart. When trying to explain the kingdom of heaven, Jesus once lifted a child onto his lap and said, “If you want to enter the kingdom of heaven, you have to become like this.” (See Matthew 18:1-3) We are to become childlike. That’s what Jesus plainly said.
To remain a child at heart, however, requires constant grace in a society which tries to force us into growing up. G.K. Chesterton once said, “I think God is the only child left in the universe, and all the rest of us have grown old and cynical because of sin..” Has this sinful world stolen away your childlikeness?
The desire of your Father’s heart is to free you from the shackles of an old heart and empower you to be young again. Like a child, your role is to trust Him completely, laugh heartily, live playfully, run intently, dream imaginatively and love unconditionally.
Life in this world is a warm-up for what comes later. One blip on the screen of eternity and our time on this planet is done. Why waste ourselves away with headaches and heartaches over things that won’t even matter to us a hundred years from now?
The call to childlikeness isn’t a lure to childishness. Of course we are to act responsibly, but not become bogged down in the muck of artificial maturity. In the midst of responsible living, the indwelling Christ will equip us to move ahead experiencing life through the heart of a child.
Our Father has everything under control. He has every detail of our lives worked out already. We don’t have to live like we are the captains of our own destiny, because we aren’t. Just relax. Your privilege is to join hands with your Father and enthusiastically run through the fields of grace He has planted for you in this world. He’ll see to it that you reach His intended destination for you.
Grow older if you must, but don’t grow up. Stay a child at heart. One day you’ll see that the things that worry you most now didn’t even matter in the eternal scheme of things. Live with eternity in view. Play – it will do your heart good and your Father will be pleased.