Age and Maturity: The Pursuit of Wisdom and Understanding

Age and Maturity: The Pursuit of Wisdom and Understanding

During times of suffering, our friends can be a source of both comfort and pain. Job’s friends were present in the aftermath of his tragedy, offering their own insight into the situation. Among them was Elihu, a young man who patiently observed the discussions, waiting for his turn to speak. In the Book of Job, we find Elihu challenging the views of his older companions, emphasizing the importance of wisdom and understanding that comes from God’s Spirit. In today’s society, where age and expectations are often disconnected, it is crucial to explore the biblical perspective on age, maturity, and the pursuit of wisdom.

Age Alone Doesn’t Guarantee Wisdom

Job 32:6 recounts Elihu’s humble admission of his youthfulness and fear of expressing his opinion to his elders. He acknowledges that age is commonly associated with wisdom, but he introduces a different perspective—that true understanding comes from the Spirit of God. Elihu recognized that merely growing older does not automatically make a person wise or righteous. Wisdom is not solely attained through the passage of time; it requires a connection with the Almighty, who imparts understanding to those who seek Him.

A Shift in Society’s Perception

In our present society, there is a noticeable shift in how age and expectations are intertwined. Many young people strive to attain physical and mental strength before they even reach adulthood, yet they often desire to revert to a state of youthful ignorance afterward. This phenomenon of extended adolescence often leaves individuals unprepared for the responsibilities of adulthood, seeking to be cared for like children in a world that expects them to take charge of their lives. However, the biblical perspective on maturity challenges this mindset.

The Mark of Maturity

The apostle Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians, declares that he put aside childish ways when he became a man (1 Corinthians 13:11). In Jewish culture, a boy was considered a man at the age of 13, signifying a transition into greater responsibility and accountability. Paul emphasized that adulthood was not defined solely by age but by maturity. True maturity, marked by godliness, goes beyond physical growth and encompasses spiritual, emotional, and intellectual development.

Elihu’s Immaturity

Returning to Elihu’s dialogue in the Book of Job, we see his immaturity displayed in his self-centered perspective and reliance on personal experience as the basis for his opinions. He believed he possessed the answers that would silence Job and convince him of his faults. However, Elihu’s understanding of the situation was flawed, and he failed to grasp God’s larger purpose. His reliance on his own mind without the guidance of God’s Spirit led to misunderstandings and misguided judgments.

The Pursuit of Wisdom and Understanding

God desires that we grow in wisdom and stature, finding favor with Him and others, just as Jesus did as He grew up (Luke 2:52). Elihu rightly acknowledged that true understanding comes from the spirit within man, combined with the breath of the Almighty. To truly comprehend God’s ways, we must allow His Spirit to dwell within us. Pursuing maturity in Jesus involves aligning our minds with His Word, using it as the measure of what is right and wrong. Surrounding ourselves with like-minded believers helps foster and solidify this Christ-like maturity.

Living it Out

To apply the lessons from Elihu’s story and the biblical teachings on maturity, we can:

  1. Seek God’s Spirit: Cultivate a close relationship with God, inviting His Spirit to guide our thoughts and actions. Recognize that true wisdom and understanding come from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Proverbs 2:6 affirms this by stating, “For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.”
  2. Embrace Humility: Like Elihu, we must approach discussions and disagreements with humility, acknowledging that our perspective may be limited. James 4:6 reminds us, “But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, ‘God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.'”
  3. Pursue God’s Word: Make the Bible our ultimate source of truth and guidance. Regularly study and meditate on Scripture, allowing it to shape our thoughts, attitudes, and decisions. Psalm 119:105 assures us, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
  4. Surround Yourself with Christ-minded Individuals: Seek fellowship with fellow believers who prioritize spiritual growth and maturity. Proverbs 13:20 advises, “He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” Engaging in meaningful conversations and accountability with mature Christians can greatly contribute to our own growth.
  5. Embrace Life’s Challenges as Opportunities for Growth: Instead of shying away from difficulties, view them as opportunities for character development and spiritual refinement. James 1:2-4 encourages us, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

Age alone does not guarantee wisdom and maturity. The pursuit of godly wisdom requires a connection with God’s Spirit, a humble posture, and a commitment to align our minds with His Word. By seeking wisdom from the Almighty, cultivating humility, and surrounding ourselves with like-minded believers, we can grow in maturity and understanding. As we apply these principles, let us remember Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

About The Author

Jesse Velez

Although Jesse Velez will forever carry the essence of a Native New Yorker, he currently calls the sun-soaked city of Miami, Florida, his home. Celebrating a marriage of 31+ years to Eusebia, he proudly embraces his role as the father of five grown children. Jesse has cultivated a profound grasp of the Bible over the span of 40+ years, dedicated to following and serving Jesus while engaging in extensive reading and in-depth study of the scriptures.