Joy In Growing Up

November 13, 2007 at 10:07 pm Leave a comment

John Piper has an article on the phenomenon of “adultolescence” – that is, the postponement of adulthood into the thirties. He cited a professor of sociology from Notre Dame who described the characteristics of 18-30 year-olds identified with this phenomenon as including: 

 (1) identity exploration, (2) instability, (3) focus on self, (4) feeling in limbo, in transition, in-between, and (5) sense of possibilities, opportunities, and unparalleled hope. These, of course, are also often accompanied by big doses of transience, confusion, anxiety, self-obsession, melodrama, conflict, and disappointment.                    

“Oh my!” I thought, “that sounds like me in my twenties and early thirties.” I am really convinced that it is the teenager, whose ambition is directed away from self focus toward God centeredness in all pursuits, who will have real joy (and accomplishment) through those turbulent “young adult” years. After listing ways that the church should respond to “adultolescence,” Piper concludes,

In these ways, I pray that the Lord Jesus, through his church, will nurture a provocative and compelling cultural alternative among our “emerging adults.” This counter-cultural band will have more stability, clearer identity, deeper wisdom, Christ-dependent flexibility, an orientation on the good of others not just themselves, a readiness to bear responsibility and not just demand rights, an expectation that they will suffer without returning evil for evil, an awareness that life is short and after that comes judgment, and a bent to defer gratification till heaven if necessary so as to do maximum good and not forfeit final joy in God.              

Okay, so I’m still in my thirties, but I really resonate with this, and want my sons to learn this. I remember that it was last Christmas, that I discovered that Mary was a teenager, perhaps as young as fourteen years old, when the angel Gabriel told her that she would be pregnant with the Messiah. She was scared but she submitted to God’s plan. Then, when she visited her cousin Elizabeth, who confirmed what the angel said, she burst out in the great hymn of praise called the Magnificat, which is so beautiful, and shows the depth of her joy. Why? Because she understood that God is who He says He is, and she was rejoicing at what He was doing in relation to the world. She looked away from herself.  In the words of Martyn Lloyd Jones, “[t]hat is the secret of this song. And it is the secret of the whole Christian position.”

And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,

and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior.

For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden;

for, behold, from henceforth all generations

shall call me blessed.

For he that is mighty hath done to me great things;

and holy is his name.

And his mercy is on them that fear him

from generation to generation.

He hath showed strength with his arm;

he hath scattered the proud

in the imagination of their hearts.

He hath put down the mighty from their seats,

and exalted them of low degree.

He hath filled the hungry with good things;

and the rich he hath sent empty away.

He hath holpen his servant Israel,

in remembrance of his mercy;

as he spake to our fathers,

to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.

Luke 1:46-55 



Entry filed under: Daily life.

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