One of the basic rules of life is that with age comes more responsibility. I am more aware of this on this particular day because it is my birthday. Just as physical growth brings more responsibility, so does spiritual growth. When I get closer to God I realize more of my own failings and how poor my response to him has been. I am convicted and want to respond in a way that will honor him and his love and mercy towards me. This makes sense and is appropriate right? So why does the added responsibility that comes with spiritual growth make us fearful?
Think about teenagers that you know or have worked with. Maybe even think about your own life as a teenager. Haven’t you noticed that many teenagers refuse to do what they are supposed to because if they start maturing and doing the right thing more will be asked of them? I used to work with inner city youth and remember one student in particular who seemed to want to just stay in one particular immature state because he didn’t seem to want to have to be held accountable for his actions. If this student would have just made small changes he would have realized that doing good wasn’t so bad and that more responsibility also comes with positive aspects such as pride, sense of accomplishment, respect, and fulfillment.
In a sense, we are often like spiritual teenagers, wanting to stay in a state of spiritual immaturity so that no one will expect more from us and God especially will take his requests and requirements someplace else. But just as we can learn to appreciate and love the new identity that we receive as Christ followers, we can learn to appreciate and love the new responsibilities that also come with Christlikeness. Fairly soon, these responsibilities will begin to feel less like duties and more like opportunities to respond to the great love of our Heavenly Father.