Recently, my two sons (both in their early teens) and I, along with a few friends, gathered in our front yard with one mission: to take down our massive, old ash tree and turn it into firewood. The tree was perhaps forty feet tall, with a trunk the size of a small car. For an entire day, with axes and a hydraulic log-splitter, we labored with pure joy. But the moment I’ll cherish forever was watching my boys, each for the first time, heave an axe overhead and bring it down with fury. In those moments, I saw their strength in new ways. I saw their fierceness. I saw them becoming men. Wasn’t it only yesterday that they were babies and I held them in my arms?

Perhaps we think coming-of-age is something Jesus wouldn’t need to experience. Luke tells us, however, that He “grew in wisdom” (Luke 2:52). Though morally blameless, He wasn’t a superhuman unfamiliar with human struggles. Jesus had to learn how to use His mind, how to acquire and apply knowledge, how to discern and persevere. As He grew into an adult, Jesus developed in wisdom as well.

Likewise, over the years, Jesus “grew . . . in stature and in favor with God and all the people” (Luke 2:52). He wasn’t born as a man in a babe’s body. Jesus actually grew up and matured. The One who would rescue the world had to be dressed, had to have His dinner cooked for Him, and had to be taught how to walk. Jesus also had to grow into His identity, into the fullness of His life with God and with others. He had to grow, and so do we.

Perhaps we can have a little more patience with ourselves (and others) as we consider that truth. Growing into our life, into the life God has for us, will take time and His power to be realized.

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Acts 1:1-11