Thoughts On Christian Maturity.
1 Corinthians 3:1 – 4; Ephesians 4:13 – 16.
It is lamentable that despite the privileged freedom we have, Sunday after Sunday, listening to the teaching and preaching of God’s faithful servants, we are nonetheless stuck in our ways and seemed unmoved by the impact of God’s Word. Perhaps not totally inattentive, but certainly somewhat incapable or unwilling to follow through sound instructions from God’s Word. This despair from a Bible teacher in a recent conversation, brought to mind the broad issue of Christian maturity as a disciple of Christ, or its flip side of immaturity (Heb 5:11-12). It provoked a few disparate thoughts, which I will explore here.
Spiritual maturity is no respecter of age, as was demonstrated by Paul’s unambiguous instruction to Timothy, that his youthfulness was not an impediment for him to model emotional and spiritual maturity among those whom he served at Ephesus (1 Tim 4:12-16). In reality, some of the older believers were the least mature. Predictably, in the absence of humility and devoid of emotional and spiritual maturity, a consistent witness validating the believer’s measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ is practically impossible.
Having imbibed the familiar worldly culture around us for the better part of our lives, is it surprising that our values and motivations are by and large defined by the world’s standards, thereby impacting our growth towards maturity in God, as we consciously or otherwise wallow in our self-righteousness. It is always a palpable struggle with the sanctifying need ‘to die to self,’ as is required, if the Holy Spirit is to have His way in moulding us in the image of Christ towards spiritual maturity (Col 3:3-17). Can we ever imagine ourselves living without sin in our hearts?
The affliction of immaturity is unrelenting, as sin is, too. How then are we to rise above this debilitating blight? Thankfully, we are not called to perfection this side of heaven, but are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Phil 2:12). The day of the prevailing church being spotless and without blemish is not yet, and the Lord calls us to stand together as His body, local and worldwide, in working through to Christian maturity (Eph 4:13-16). So, godliness is to be developed and modeled in community, in broad daylight and in full view of the church. Any mention of spiritual maturity invariably reminds one of Richard Foster’s classic expositions in The Celebration of Discipline (see below for links).
It would be abnormal if our children stagnated physically, emotionally, and intellectually, as we envisage them to grow up, and likewise, within a spiritual framework, we are expected to mature (1 Peter 2:2). Irrefutably, only God knows our precise progress, as growth is always measurable (Eph 4:13). The journey toward Christian maturity begins with receiving Christ, and progresses to the point where one is conformed to the image of His Son – having reached his or her goal for which they were created by God (Rom 8:29-30); not unlike being in union with Christ (John 15:1-11) and walking as He walked in obedience (Col 2:6-7; cf., Micah 6:8).
Forsake your folly and live, and proceed in the way of understanding. Give instruction to a wise man and he will be still wiser, teach a righteous man and he will increase his learning. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding (Proverbs 10:6,9,10).
Read the PDF Version of the Book Here: http://www.goyourownway.org/GOYOUROWNWAY/DOCUMENTS/VETERANS/PENDING/Celebration%20of%20Discipline%202%20PER%20PAGE.pdf).
Read a Summarized Version of the Book Here: