Wednesday, January 4, 2023
January 9 will be a big day for young adults in Japan. It will be Coming of Age Day, the national holiday held to congratulate and encourage all those who have reached the age of majority (20 years old) over the past year, and to help them realize that they have become adults. Coming of Age Day means that 20-year-olds can vote, drink and marry without parental permission, but at the same time, are also subject to all laws and social responsibilities.
The ages may vary, as will the ceremonies, but every culture has some way of recognizing young people’s passing from childhood into adulthood. Connected to the recognition of maturity is accountability. Accountability is based on one’s ability to be personally responsible for one’s choices and actions.
The Japanese have chosen the age of 20 to recognize accountability in their citizens. In the United States we recognize different ages for different responsibilities. Young people can drive when their 14, 15 or 16, depending on the state in which they reside. They can vote when they are 18. They can drink when they are 21. And I haven’t yet figured out our judicial system because there’s no consistency in when they are responsible for criminal activity.
Religions also have their age of accountability practices. For many it is between the ages of 10 and 14. It is at this age that they believe the maturity process reaches a point where a child’s value system is now becoming his or her own and they are now responsible for the choices that accompany maturity. It is at this stage of emotional and intellectual development that many believe children come of age spiritually.
From the moment of birth a child is completely equipped to be an adult, unless some tragic disease or disorder as altered their genetic ability to mature. Every building block is in place for the child to come of age. The process of moving from infancy to adolescence to adult maturity takes a long time, but all the necessary elements are in place from the moment of conception for that process to be completed. The only thing lacking is knowledge – knowledge of the system and people to whom they are accountable.
The same is true of any person who comes to Jesus Christ for salvation. From the moment of their spiritual birth, the Holy Spirit conceives in them everything they need for life and godliness. All that is lacking is knowledge – knowledge of the God to whom they are accountable.
2 Peter 1:3 “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”
There are two points I would like to make to help you connect to this truth.
- First, as a believer in Jesus, you have everything you need right now to live a godly life. The Holy Spirit has granted to you the complete spiritual DNA of Jesus Christ. Unlike physical conception and birth, there has never been nor can there ever be a genetic failure in the realm of spiritual birth. The Holy Spirit perfectly completes the born-again experience in the life of every person who repents of their sin and confesses Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. The maturity process may vary in each person, but the building blocks are all there equally in everyone.
- Second, we spend far too much time praying for what we already possess and not doing what is necessary to fully mature. I find only one thing in Scripture the maturity for which we are to ask – wisdom. (James 1:5) Wisdom is the practical application of knowledge. If we already possess all the spiritual building blocks to live godly lives, then it seems clear that the request we should be making to God is for more knowledge of Him, so that we receive more wisdom to apply to the areas of our life that are already receptive to maturity. Your spiritual DNA is already in place. It just needs to be set free to accomplish the growth God built into it.
Take some time to deeply reflect on that last point. The power of God has already given you everything you need for a life that honors Him. Stop asking for patience. Stop begging for peace. Don’t cry out to God for the things He has already given you. Instead, recognize that your life already holds the Living Water. All that’s lacking is the growing knowledge of God so that the water can purify you and bubble out of your life onto others. Ask God to increase your knowledge of Him – specifically of His love and grace. You will be excited to see that you are coming of age.