Spiritual Adulting: It’s Time to Grow Up

Doug Bender

January 04, 2024 | 3 minute read

At some point life makes you grow up. Your fun money turns into bill money. Your spare time becomes errands time. Even romantic relationships take on new seriousness for the sole reason that you have entered adulthood. This goes for your spiritual life, as well. When you were young, going to church depended on the whims and habits of your parents. Whether you thanked God for your food, opened your Bible outside of church, or volunteered in your community largely depended on the decisions of others. But your spiritual life is now in your hands. What will you do with it?

Accidental vs Purposeful Decision-Making

Whether you realize it or not, you have already made decisions regarding your spiritual life. There is no such thing as indecision. Are you thinking about finding a church, but haven't quite gotten around to it? Then, you have, as of this moment, decided to not go to church. Are you still deciding whether you want to read your Bible or where to start? While you are thinking about it, you are deciding not to open it. 

This should not come as a surprise. You know the same principles apply to your physical health. Until you decide to exercise, eat right and get to bed on time, you are deciding to do the opposite. Doing nothing is still doing something. Indecision is really just accidental decision-making. By not deciding on a course, you are deciding to continue on your present course.  

The more purpose you bring to your decision-making, the more you will be able to take control of your life. Purposeful decision-making means you are taking ownership of your life. This is at the core of what adulting is meant to be. Children let life happen to them, but adults make decisions and set their own direction.

Simple Choices Make a Big Difference 

Making a few simple choices each day can yield huge results over the long run. When you decide to go to bed at 10pm vs 11pm, that’s a small decision. It’s only one hour. But that means you can get up one hour earlier the next morning. Having a free hour before work or classes means you can make all sorts of positive changes to your life. You can exercise, read your Bible, prepare a healthy lunch and so much more. And all of those options open up because you made one simple choice to go to bed an hour earlier. 

When you think about your spiritual life, decide on small but regular steps that you can take. Taking ten minutes to pray before you let social media and email crowd into your thoughts can pay big dividends on your mental wellbeing. It can set your mind on the things above and reorient you to the essentials of life. Finding a spiritual community, reading your Bible, and other regular habits can do far more than you think considering the small footprint they take on your calendar. 

Get to Work!

The most important thing to remember about your spiritual health is that it’s not really about you. You are Second! Children think about themselves. Little kids struggle to understand the emotions or thought patterns of others. But as adults we learn that everyone has their own set of needs and desires that should be taken into consideration. Even God has things that he wants. If you only ever go to him when you want something, you are acting like a child. 

You must start thinking about taking care of your own needs and the needs of others. As an adult you learn that your parents will not always feed you, clothe you and give you a place to live. Your parents – and the world around you – are not there just to give you all the things you want. You must get a job that (a) gives you money to supply your needs and (b) that meets a need in the lives of other people (afterall, that’s why they are offering you money for your time). Working is healthy and good and a very adult thing to do.

There is work to be done and you need to be an adult and get to work. In other words, spiritual adults don’t go to church just to get spiritually filled up, they go to church because there is work to do there.

If the New Year is helping you realize that you have some spiritual growing up to do, then follow along with this month’s articles. We’ll be bringing you a number of practical pieces to help you be the spiritual adult that you were meant to be.

Doug Bender

Doug Bender

Doug Bender is an I Am Second writer and small groups coach. He developed many of the small group tools found at and has coached churches, organizations, and individuals to use I Am Second groups to share the message of Jesus with their friends and family. He also works with I Am Second's parent organization, e3 Partners, as a church planter and pastor in countries such as Ethiopia, Colombia, and the US. Doug and his wife, Catherine, have four children: Bethany, Samuel, Isabella, and Jesse.

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