Perhaps their development was arrested, or perhaps a behaviour was never challenged and they failed to grow up in an area.
The same can be said of the Christian faith. The older the Christian does not always correspond to the maturity of the Christian. In truth we all must continue our journey of maturing in faith or growing up in our relationship with God well after we have become ‘grownups’.
In 1 Corinthians 3:2 Paul writes to the church in Corinth using the analogy of food for a child and says to them:
‘I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.’
Paul here is talking about an age appropriate message to the people. They were wanting the stuff they were not yet ready for.
We likewise would talk to children differently about the subject of where babies come from. To a two-year old we would say a baby comes from mummy’s tummy. The message is true, but we are explaining it at a level they can understand. The same message would not be anywhere near an appropriate answer for say, a training midwife.
If we have a lack of understanding of God as a loving father and in control of all things, when the winds of adversity arise, we can be blown off course and left wondering where was God in this situation?
Take our current situation of Covid 19. We would rightly tell our children that God protects and looks after us. What happens then, when as adults we encounter brothers and sisters in Christ who have contracted and died of Covid 19? They have. If our faith has not moved past a Sunday school faith to a more mature understanding, then when tragedies like this arise Christians can be left with their trust in God in tatters.
Some terrible theological teaching (usually within the prosperity teaching) would say that those who were Christians who suffered were under judgement or maybe had sin in their lives. Even some of Jesus followers prescribed to the erroneous teaching that sickness was a sign of sin (John 9:1-3) so this falsehood has been with us a while.
Jesus never said that becoming a Christian would make us immune from troubles in the world, in fact anyone who you hear preaching that, I give you permission to get up and walk out because that is contrary to what Jesus taught or exhibited (John 16:33).
A mature understanding around this, what the first Christians understood is; a holy fear of God is what we should fear. Not a virus, or what mankind can do to us (Luke 12:4-5). Yes, God may well preserve us at times and save us from dangers disasters or sickness. We may suffer all these things as well.
Our hope needs to come from a mature understanding based on the goodness of God, His plans for us and that He holds our future and the promise He will never leave us nor forsake us. At times we will be touched by the fallenness and evil in this world just as Jesus was. That is a fact of where we are because of the fallenness of our world and until our Amazing God puts it back the way it was meant to be from the beginning as He has always said He would, we need to remember fallenness and evil are still with us.
How do we grow in maturity in our faith?
Asking in prayer for the Holy Spirit to reveal within our hearts those attitudes or understandings that need to be brought to maturity.
Reading God’s word and letting God challenge our understanding and thinking. If we close ourselves and Gods Word, we miss opportunities for growth. Resisting or running away from adversity debilitates us from growing up in our thinking and understanding of who God is.
God desires to create in us a robust strong faith that shines out like a lighthouse, not as just short-lived candle blown out the winds of adversity.