Maturity, Part 2

Since posting about maturity earlier this week and reading and listening to comments on it, I’ve been thinking about it quite a bit – in fact, I can’t get it out of my mind.

We use terms like “mature” and “maturity” to describe things that have reached their goal. For instance, if I were to buy a $50 bond, it would have a “maturity date” on it – the exact date in the future at which time it will be worth the full $50. If I try to cash it in before it’s “mature”, I’ll get less than $50. Pretty simple concept.

Plugging it into the spiritual realm is not as simple. Paul defines “spiritual maturity” very specifically in Ephesians 4:

And he [Jesus] gave the apostles, and the prophets, and the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for ministry work, so the body of Christ will be built up, until we all reach the the full faith and knowledge of the Son of God, [until we all reach] a mature person, [until we all reach] a measure of Christ’s full stature. Ephesians 4:11-13

These verses are intentionally layered, with each layer giving a deeper and clearer understanding of the ultimate goal:

  • Jesus gave specially-gifted people to the church
    • Their purpose is to make sure the believers are ready and able to do ministry
      • Ministering believers are to build up (read: grow) the whole group (which means the individuals in the group have to grow)
        • A person’s growth is to be measured in these three ways:
          • how full is my faith and knowledge of the Son of God?
          • how well-rounded is my maturity as a human being?
          • how do I measure up to the life of Christ?

Like in our mental, emotional, and physical lives, spiritual maturity is not a one-time, one-place destination. It involves many aspects and areas of our lives. That’s one of the big concepts behind our “Open House” teaching series – exploring different areas in my life that need to grow.

There is no doubt that we have immature (not fully grown) people in our church:

  • Not everyone attends our gatherings like they should (weekly)
  • Not everyone serves on a ministry team like they should (regularly)
  • Not everyone is connecting with others in a group like they should (weekly)
  • Not everyone is giving financially like they should (at least 10% of income)
  • Not everyone is praying like they should (at all times)
  • Not everyone is sharing their faith in Christ like they should (every chance we get)
  • (did I get everyone?)

In fact, not a single one of us is doing everything like we should (full maturity). We each have areas in which we excel, and we have areas in which we fail miserably. But full maturity is supposed to be our goal.

Part of being mature is the ability to evaluate yourself, identify the areas that need work, and actually do something about it. It takes work, self-discipline, and probably even some help and accountability.

Growing up is your choice. We are trying to create an environment at OTCC where you can’t help but want to grow. You’ll either become mature or you’ll leave because you refuse to grow up. Strong language? Yes – but that’s our mission as a church and my mission as your pastor.

Coming to them Jesus said, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on the earth. So, as you go, make followers in all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to fulfill everything as much as I have commanded you; and, look, I myself am with you always, all the way to the complete end of the age. Matthew 28:18-20

The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these with faithful people, whoever will also be able to teach others.
2 Timothy 2:2

Yes, mature Christ-followers will naturally “breed” new, immature Christ-followers – people should accept God’s salvation because of you. But we can’t be satisfied to leave them there or stay there ourselves.

So, in what areas do you need to mature / grow up? What is keeping you from doing that? What can I as a church leader do about that? What can our church do about that?

2 thoughts on “Maturity, Part 2

  1. This makes more sense to me than Mr. Beeson’s anology. Maturity is a process and your questions, Pastor should help us toward this process if we answer them honestly.

  2. I think it is a “both/and” rather than an “either/or”. Mark’s right that people who are truly Christ-followers will be making more Christ-followers; that is the essense of the Great Commission and the broad perspective.

    This post is quite a bit more introspective, reminding us that “maturity” is a goal but not a one-stop deal. We will impact more people for God’s Kingdom the closer we each get to “Christ’s full stature”.

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