Training for Reigning - 32 - How grown-up are you?

"My FATHER SAYS I can’t.". . . Well, that’s not a bad answer to give those who try to coax you to do things, or go places that would not be pleasing to your Lord. After all, your father is responsible for you until you reach your late ‘teens. And the Word of God does require you to obey your parents. Likely, then, that reply will go to your credit in Heaven’s record books
- . and it often saves a lot of difficult explaining. Of course it can’t serve forever. After a while you certainly will have to assume full responsibility for your behaviour; but it may be some relief to feel that that time has not come yet. So, for the present, "My father says I can’t" does very well for a refusal answer.
But let’s be careful to see to it that this reply isn’t just a bit of play-acting.
The reason for saying this is that some young Christians like to hide behind their parents at convenient time, while at others they talk most resentfully about how they hold them down, won’t let them do this or that, make them do things they don’t want to
do. . . "TREAT THEM AS IF THEY WERE ONLY CHILDREN," etc., and finally conclude that they just don’t understand young people at all . . . Let’s talk about it, if you are interested.
So you feel grown-up . . . and that your parents ought to realize that fact!
All right then, you are grown-up. But let me ask: JUST HOW GROWN-UP ARE YOU?
That isn’t meant to be an awkward question. It should be a helpful, constructive query. Because it is not unlikely that you have entirely different ideas of this problem from those of your parents.
Now let’s be frank: just what do you have in mind when you think of being treated as a grown-up person? Is it anything like the following?
To be allowed to do what you want to do without being cross questioned.
More use of the family car.
To be able to go out with other young Christians feeling that you are quite able to take care of yourself.
To be free to come and go without getting a scolding if you aren’t in by ten o’clock.
The liberty of having friends of the opposite sex without having to explain about them for hours.
A bigger spending allowance.
Now, just in case you should be having trouble like the above, perhaps I ought to say that mature people usually do not regard such things as liberties, but as responsibilities . . . And if you do not see much point in that statement, then let me hint gently that maybe you aren’t nearly so grown up as you think. For it is my guess that your parents are patiently, hopefully waiting for clear evidences that you have gone past the stages of struggling to gain more freedom and have wakened up to the unwelcome truth that every activity of life is hedged about by responsibilities. Then, and then only, will they grant you recognition you desire. But that’s not what many young people want at all! they want liberties . . . while Dad and Mom take the responsibilities for them.
Honestly now: isn’t it the truth?
And if it is the truth, another fact stands out as clear as daylight: since your parents cannot accept such a proposition (they once were like that too, you know) it shows that your trouble is not that they don’t understand you, but that you don’t understand them. Since they are several rungs higher on the ladder of Experience than you are, it is obvious that they must be waiting for you to narrow the gap. But let me be constructive and suggest a few items that show when young people are growing up in reality:
1. Complete abandonment of the notion that the main thing in life is to be happy.
It must have been Satan who originated the idea. Perhaps it was an ingredient of Eden’s temptation? (Gen. 3:4-6).
2. PractIcal acceptance of the first importance of Duty, first to the Lord, then to parents, families, the assembly, teachers, employers, the powers that be, and all others having a just claim upon us.
In earlier times the calls of Duty were themes of much practical ministry. Today we rarely hear the word among us.
3. A fair measure of progress down the far side of "Fool’s Hill." I realize now that the ages 17-19 were most dangerous in my own life, even as they commonly are in other young lives. You see, when we reach "puberty" (about 12 or 13) we start to cross the long bridge of Adolescence. Some make the other side by the time they are twenty. Others take a few years longer. Want to know what this means? If you will keep on reading I shall tell you some things you may not have thought about before.
It is while we are crossing that long bridge from childhood to adulthood that the emotional part of our disposition, "is either born or is springing up into its most intense activity". . . therefore, we simply do not possess a good set of emotional control brakes until we get to the other side.
True enough, many people have a poor set all their lives. But poor brakes are usually better than none. For example: your parents, the elders in the assembly, know all about the wild passions that can overwhelm a young couple before they ever realize their danger, and land them in 1 Corinthians 5:11-13 . . . And the are afraid, because their sons and daughters so often fool themselves by asserting, "Oh, I can take care of myself, thank you". . . never guessing that they are driving an emotional car that has no brakes, worthy of the name. To tell the truth, then, in a plain, unvarnished manner; no matter how intelligent you may be, until your emotional development is completed you simply won’t be "all there."
4. A fair measure of ability to accept-not merely the chance to do things, but responsibility in full for the doing and the consequences.
Here, then, is a sort of yardstick by which you may measure your advancement toward maturity. And if you find, when you have thought it all over, that you aren’t quite across the bridge yet, won’t you let me ask you to pray for grace to be patient a little longer with the restrictions that seemed designed only to dishearten you? Perhaps it will help you to remember that your Lord Jesus was 30 years old before He undertook the place of a man. And it is He who is allowing the hedge around your liberties to continue! . . . Remember Matthew 11:26, won’t you?
otherwise: Proverbs 30:171