What is Adult Behavior

By Dudley Hall Published on May 7, 2017

Today, when we tell our children to act like an adult, it can be very confusing. We have adult entertainment, adult shops and adult conversation. Commonly, we mean something lewd, sexually elicit, perverted … or worse.

In true irony, the word intended to describe maturity is actually describing an irresponsible, self-indulgent behavior that is much more childish than it is adult. It seems that knowledge of the ways of perversion and distortion is a badge for a strange kind of maturity that should never be associated with being grown up.

Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature. (1 Corinthians 14:20)

Though he is applying it to a specific situation in the church at Corinth, the apostle Paul states a transcendent truth: We should be adults when managing God’s gifts for the benefit of all and infants when related to matters of perversion and evil. Instead, we have boasted in our knowledge of evil and our freedom to exploit any and all desires, while being contentedly naïve in matters of responsible living.

If one should give any credence to the admonition of Paul, what would adult thinking look like?

As an example, both Christian and non-Christians know more about the sexual affairs, divorces and political views of movie stars than about what God says in his word about how his love relates to such people and their behavior. Few could find biblical texts that address such issues. Another example is how we embrace the deceptive spin of advertising, even quoting familiar memes and jingles. But we seem embarrassed to quote the words of Jesus about the dangers of materialism and greed.

There are those both in and outside the church who mock as childish and ignorant others who believe that marriage is the uniting of male and female humans for the purpose of greater responsibility toward society. This so-called adult thinking has outgrown the created order that was established by God. It has embraced the grand lie that progressive mankind is superior to any previous notion of order and purpose.

These “adults” have no need of God nor his ways. And this kind of adult thinking has concluded that unwanted pregnancies are a warrant for taking the life of unborn, and sometimes even newly born babies. These “grown-ups” have decided that the conveniences of the adults trump the rights of the child.

If we don’t grow up and stand up, the brats that think they are adults will destroy the house.

What Does Adult Thinking Look Like?

If one should give any credence to the words of Paul, what would adult thinking look like? Paul points out several aspects of mature thinking.

First, he makes it clear that everything we have is a gift from God. We did not earn it, and it doesn’t give us leverage over others. It is not a badge of significance. Everything from breath, to identity, to talents, to desires is a gift to be used for the benefit of our community.

Second, he shows that responsible people put more value on the eternal than the temporal. Some of the things we value now will fade with time and will not even be a part of our future. Real adults give more attention to that which is most important.

Third, he emphasizes that nothing counts with God nor lasts beyond death that is not initiated and sustained by the kind of love Jesus displayed to the world. That love is the real power that releases us from slavery and transforms. That kind of love is what matters in this life and as well as in the new age.

I love watching my grandsons at play. They can make a game out of any activity. Their world is simple and care-free. I love childlikeness. I don’t enjoy watching irresponsible, self-focused adults acting like spoiled children, while claiming to be more mature because they have mastered the art of manipulation.

I cringe when I see others being disrespected because we grown-ups are so locked in on our rights and our agendas that we don’t see beyond ourselves. Yes, I include myself. I fear that my age is not a good reflection of my maturity.

If we don’t grow up and stand up, the brats that think they are adults will destroy the house. It is time for some real adult thinking, adult conversation, adult entertainment, and adult living.

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  • Christian Cowboy

    Thank you for reminding me that God’s Word defines what a mature man should be. I pray that I use His Word to mature daily.

  • Az1seeit

    Thank you for this important reminder.

  • john appleseed

    Dudley, I appreciate you voicing the same complaints that I have made for many years, namely, that the word “adult” is often twisted today.
    Also, the word “mature” is commonly abused: “For mature audiences only” usually means it’s an immature film, & “mature language” always means immature language.

  • faithful

    Would love to see any part of this on billboards throughout the country. Thank you for expressing so succinctly the sentiments of so many….

  • blackfeather

    “don’t let your babies grow up to be democrats”

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