Have you ever had one of the following thoughts?
- “I don’t need to read the Bible regularly because I attend church.”
- “I don’t need to have close fellowship with other believers because I attend church on Sunday.”
- “I don’t need to attend church regularly because I prefer to worship at home.”
- “I’m just too busy to commit myself to a church.”
- “I am content where I am in my Christian faith.”
If you have, you may be what I call a “Peter Pan Christian.” What do I mean?
You all know the popular children’s character, Peter Pan who flies around Neverland and avoids growing up like Superman avoids Kryptonite. For him, growing up into an adult is the worst thing that could possibly happen, possibly because it involves change, embarrassment (puberty, anyone?) and difficulty (it is called growing pains).
Many Christians function as spiritual Peter Pans who, consciously or unconsciously, avoid growing up in Christ. They put Christ on the side in their lives instead of at the forefront. They don’t realize that there is something so much greater, something so much more satisfying, more secure, and more significant than coasting in their immaturity, staying in spiritual diapers and drinking from bottles.
Growth and maturity in Christ was the goal of the Apostle Paul’s ministry:
“Him [Christ] we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.” Colossians 1:28-29
Believers need to be dedicated to God’s Word so that the pure spiritual milk of Scripture will nourish our souls, grow us in righteousness, and equip us for service (1 Peter 2:1-2; 2 Timothy 3:16-17).
Believers need to be fellowshipping in a local church so they can receive encouragement in tough times, learn from the examples of other godly believers, and not be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness (Hebrews 10:24-25; Titus 2; Hebrews 3:13).
Believers need to be actively seeking growth in Christ so that they aren’t distracted by the worries and pleasures of life, so that at the end of their lives they won’t regret wasting their time, and so they don’t settle for less than the greatest thing in life, which is knowing Christ (Luke 8:14; Matthew 25:14-30; Philippians 3:8).
Believer: if you have Peter Pan tendencies in your Christian life–ditch them. Repent from avoiding God’s great purpose for your life here on earth: to grow you in maturity so you are more like Jesus.
Yes, it will likely involve change and difficulty, just like growing up. But so do all worthwhile things in life.
The result is literally glorious:
“For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.” Romans 8:29-30