“And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” Luke 2:52
One of the topics that we cover in Purpose Driven Life class is the “How We Grow” topic. Come to think of it, we cover that same topic in Boundaries and I discuss it with each student as I do case management. So the “how” of becoming a mature adult is covered several times in the course of one’s time in our addictive recovery/discipleship program. Sometimes I show them the series of photographs I have of lifestages of a Monarch butterfly. Sometimes we talk about oak trees or cedar groves. Occasionally we talk about Erikson’s theory of human development. More and more I go to this scripture as the summary of any discussion that has to do with growth.
In this scripture one can see that Jesus himself grew in wisdom, which is a combination of intellectual and emotional intelligence. He grew in stature which is accomplished both physically and morally, as in one becoming a person of stature in one’s community because of integrity, reliability, generosity, and other virtuous qualities. He grew in favor with God, spiritually, and men, socially. These are the same ways in which each human develops if given the nurture and support for growth. It has always been comforting to me to realize that God Himself came as a dependent and vulnerable baby, trusting in the caring of family and community to raise a child, that He experienced learning and growing from a human development standpoint, and at the point that He was an adult embraced the reality that He had Himself preordained for Himself to fulfill in His adulthood.
Maturity is a journey. Sadly some of us get stuck in deadends or lost in rambling trails because we didn’t have a clear understanding of the destination or guidance we need. If we simply look to Jesus, how he grew, and strive to follow in His footsteps, we can get to the place God intends for us, too.