Don’t Wait Until You’re Older: Delayed Adulthood (Part 1)

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By Nate Keeler, @MBCArlington Campus Pastor

What is one of the biggest challenges facing Millennials today? Delayed adulthood. What do I mean by “adulthood?” Well, I’m not defining adulthood in a rigid way (ie: marriage, financial independence, house, kids or steady job). Adulthood has far less to do with these socio-economic factors and much more to do with a philosophical framework that we approach life, AKA—our worldview. It’s a worldview that rationalizes and celebrates a delay in facing serious, difficult and healthy rights of passage, and the establishment of these patterns in our youth. To make it practical, one of the most common phrases I hear from my generation is, “I’ll wait until I’m older to… (fill in the blank).”

What can you fill in the blank with?

  • Pay off my debt
  • Start giving
  • Get into a serious relationship
  • Make a commitment to a church
  • Leadership
  • Serve in a ministry
  • Deal with my childhood baggage
  • Address my bad habits
  • Get serious about my spiritual life
  • Prioritize my life around God


Even if you’ve never said it out loud, I’m sure you have all thought like this.
Even if you’ve never said it out loud, I’m sure you have all thought like this. Believe me, this was my mantra at one point in my life! We live in a culture (particularly in Metro DC) that doesn’t just tolerate this worldview, but celebrates and fuels it. Just think of the billions of dollars of marketing and number of businesses that thrive on our delayed adulthood. Almost every comedy in the past 10 years focuses on celebrating delayed adulthood (think Old School, Step Brothers…almost every Will Ferrell movie, The Hangover, Friends, Seinfeld, Two and A Half Men, etc.).

Why is this a problem?
1. This is a destructive philosophy that goes directly against God’s Word. Scripture is constantly calling us to, “Grow up!”
(Romans 12:1-2, Ephesians 4:1-16, 1 Peter 2:1-4, Hebrews 6:1-3). Growing up means that we are willing to confront the list above, not in our 40’s but now. When we disregard God’s timeline, in essence, we are choosing the philosophy of this world to dictate the course of our lives.

2. We miss out on blessing, joy, purpose and eternal significance during our most available and passionate years of life. As a young adult, you will never have more time and freedom in your life than you do right now. Believe it. And because of this, when we delay adulthood we are robbing ourselves, our world, and God of some of the greatest years of impact we can make.

3. Delaying adulthood brings destruction into our lives. Galatians 6:7 says, “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.” Unfortunately many of us are self-deceived because we think we can do whatever we want because we are young and then snap our fingers when we are ready to be an adult and clean the slate. Sorry, life doesn’t work like that. God has set up the universe on the sowing and reaping principles. Think about your life right now… The habits, hobbies, struggles, dominating themes, priorities that you have in your life right now are being planted in the soil of your heart and soul. You will harvest what it is you are planting, good or bad, later down the road.

So what do we do about it? 
Start making a list of the things you are delaying. Over the next several weeks, I will be addressing many of these issues specifically on this blog and offering hope and a path forward from God’s Word.

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