Back in the day Melanie sang that song, “I got a brand-new pair of roller skates, you got a brand-new key…” I remember debating one of my siblings as to what the ‘key’ was supposed to be. I argued that it was one of those symbolic keys that was hung on the walls of every second house in the neighbourhood. Those key shaped mirrors given by the proud parents to their child who had turned 21 at some stage. Counter arguments included a literal house key, or a car key. Since we never locked our doors, the house key suggestion didn’t ring true. But being too poor to know anything of roller skate keys, I stuck to my 21-mirror story.
As you know, 18 is the new 21 these days. Once the age of official adulthood, 21 stood for something. A friend of mine told me that his parents had to sign a permission form for him, 20 at the time, to marry his 21 year old fiancée. He wasn’t charmed—she was eternally amused. As in all things, Christian maturity is not guaranteed by virtue of age. It comes at a great cost. It would be nice to think that you arrived at full spiritual maturity at a given point, but it can’t be. The apostle Peter was given the ‘keys to the kingdom’ by Jesus (Mt.16:18). Through his sermons the gospel unlocked the mysteries of the church to both Jews and gentiles. Today people are searching for ‘The Keys to Success.’ Ideas and ways that will make sure they have something to show for their lives in the end. Peter would later list the building blocks for the Christian life that, if added one to another will guarantee usefulness, and result in maturity. He says, “…in your faith add moral excellence, [add] knowledge, [add] self-control, [add] perseverance, [add] godliness, [add] brotherly kindness, and [add] love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2Pet.1:5-8). There’s that key thing. Use it!