Maturity

Recently I have been thinking about the topic of maturity and its place in our Christian lives. One of our problems is that at the moment we are surrounded by a generation of people who, for the most part, are desperately trying not to mature. They are doing a good job at this and the results are obvious all around us. This is most blatantly true for a lot of young men who want to be able to have the privileges of being an adult (like having a relationship with a woman) without having the responsibility that God has designed for those privileges to entail.

So the question arises: what on earth are we to do about this? How are we to relate to those who are in this position? How do we make sure that we are maturing as God wants us to? And what does the Bible say about maturity anyway?

Thomas van den Broek


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11 comments:

  1. Maturity is a really fascinating topic, especially for young people. It seems like I'm kicking off this discussion... so I hope some of what I say is useful...

    So often I find that as Christian young people we can be proud of how mature we are in comparison to the people around us. Just because we're "breaking the mould" as it were, and being slightly different. Just by doing something a tiny bit more mature than other Christian teens can put you in a position where people praise you and you're looked up to as "mature". The danger of this is letting it go to your head, and doing the minimum because it impresses others, when you could be doing more. Because society (and many churches) have such low expectations of young people, when one is a little mature people are surprised and impressed.

    One quote I read on maturity is "Evasion of responsibility is the mark of immaturity" (Elisabeth Elliot). That's so true! Being mature is taking responsibility for our actions, and being able to cope with bigger responsibilities.

    As to what the Bible says on maturity, Hebrews 6:1 reminds us that we're to be moving on towards maturity, and leaving behind our childishness. In our day and age we love to hang on to our childlike ways. We want to be treated like adults whilst behaving like children.

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  2. When does a boy become a man?
    R. Albert Mohler Jr, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary has written a helpful booklet. I put his headings here for your consideration.

    1. Spiritual maturity sufficient to lead a wife and children.
    2. Personal maturity sufficient to be a responsible husband and father.
    3. Economic maturity sufficient to hold an adult job and handle money.
    4. Physical maturity sufficient to work and protect a family.
    5. Sexual maturity sufficient to marry and fulfil God’s purposes.
    6. Moral maturity sufficient to lead as example of righteousness.
    7. Ethical maturity sufficient to make responsible decisions.
    8. Worldview maturity sufficient to understand what is really important.
    9. Relational maturity sufficient to understand and respect others.
    10. Social maturity sufficient to make a contribution to society.
    11. Verbal maturity sufficient to communicate and articulate as a man.
    12. Character maturity sufficient to demonstrate courage under fire.
    13. Biblical maturity sufficient to lead at some level in the church.

    He closes with these words...

    Dads, you are crucial to the process of man-making.
    No one else can fulfil your responsibility, and no one else can match your opportunity for influence with your son. By word and by example, we are teaching our sons the meaning of manhood. May God make us faithful as we seek to lead our boys to become true Christian men!

    The booklet may be downloaded online for free at
    http://www.sbts.edu/resources/files/2010/07/boy-to-man.pdf
    Well done for thinking of such important things to discuss.

    Ali

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  3. I always been inspired by the examples of men and women like Charles Spurgeon and Amy Carmichael who did great things for God at a young age. Of course, we're not all called to pastor churches in our teens or rescue orphans in our twenties and thirties. But I'm encouraged by the fact that they had the maturity to obey God and do what HE called them to do - without worrying about their age and "immaturity" because HE was leading them His plans for their lives in HIS perfect timing. They really set a standard of maturity in faith and life for us to follow - at any age!

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  4. In response to the question "How do we make sure that we are maturing as God wants us to?" ... I'm not sure maturity is something that we *aim* for. Isn't maturity something that comes when we are being serious about God and our relationship with Him, rather than something we are trying to be? Obviously, one shouldn't try to be immature and we should be aware of how we are responding to life BUT, I wonder if we can be distracted. I think that our developing maturity (or lack thereof) may be an indication of how our relationship with God is progressing but it surely isn't our aim - if we are truly seeking God's face and will, then maturity will come out of a deeper relationship with Him?

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  5. That's an interesting point, Tabitha. I hadn't thought of it like that before. So do you think it is wrong to aim for maturity or just that we can't actually aim for it as such, but that is comes naturally over time?

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  6. Maturity is an excellent topic to discuss, and definitely something we should be thinking hard about. -and acting on.

    I think those were very helpful points from Al Mohler and E.Eliot;
    Perhaps at its most basic level maturity is really about becoming more Christlike in every respect?
    Part of God's plan redemption plan for man is that he should develop 'to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,(Eph4:13).' We should mature into a glorious reflection of Christ; we have been 'predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son.'
    As 2Cor3:18 says: 'But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.'

    So Tabitha I would say you are right that we should be aiming for a having a growing relationship with God, because that is what will make us more Christlike. But I think that and maturity are one and the same thing with regard to a biblical definition of maturity.

    Of course the whole scriptures are useful in guiding us in our course towards perfection, as
    2Ti 3:16,17, 'All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.'
    And maturity is by God's grace:
    2Tim2:1
    Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

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  7. Hmm ... how come we all think so differently?!

    I think I agree with you, Tabitha, that God doesn't want our focus to be "achieving" maturity, but knowledge of Him. Micah 6v8 "He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?" However, I don't think that maturity is a bad trait to work on, because maturity is important. The apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13v11 "When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things."

    But Philip, I'm kind of confused by the way you are applying 2 Timothy 2v1! Hebrews 6v1&2 "Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment" seems to be saying that maturity is the result, or completion, if you will, of deeper knowledge of God and his ways and a faith relationship with him that moves beyond the basics of the gospel (important though they are). I'd really like to know why you think maturity is a matter of grace, because I'm struggling to see it! I mean, I'm not demanding an explanation, but I'd really like to know, because I've never heard anyone say quite what you have before.

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  8. Thanks for all your comments folk! There seem to be many different themes running around here and I fear the we may be crossing past each other in what we are trying to say!

    As was stated by Mr. McLachlan, there are different kinds maturity. The Bible addresses these types of maturity and our relation/reaction to each of them is not the same. For example there is maturity in Christ (Hebrews 6:1-2 spiritual maturity?) This something we should be actively working for (the Bible clearly tells us so). There is also Physical maturity which we will get in due time and we really are wasting our time trying to get to!

    So, we ARE supposed to be trying to be mature because we are supposed to be becoming more like Christ which means we have to become more mature but it could also be argued that it is a slight waste of time to be looking to move towards other kinds of maturity. Additionally: Christ was matured through suffering, it could take the same form for us! Maturity for us is often the same as being responsible. Just because you are immature doesn't necessarily mean that you are in sin (Christ was made mature and he never sinful). I should stop there. Thanks for clarifying things in my mind!

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  9. I very much doubt if anyone will look at this post now but, I didn't mean to *not* respond and I thought it might be rude if I didn't... So here goes! (And I will try to be brief :-) )

    Elspeth, I'm not trying to say that I think it's wrong to aim for maturity I'm just not convinced that it's something we *can* aim for ... What I mean is: it's easy to see how we can work on something like the Fruit of the Spirit by working at being more gentle or having greater self control - but where do you start with maturity when it's something that (as I have always understood it) is a benifit of having a good relationship with God??

    But I'm not trying to really disagree and I think it's a good point of Thomas', that there are different kinds of maturity. :-)

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  10. ENjoying reading this!

    As a mother of 6, I have to look towards the future with this one. My oldest is only 9, but I think the issue is relevant to me now, because, I believe, maturity has a lot to do with training. I think it majorly includes the element of responsibility. young men are not given responsibility in this day and age, so they do not know HOW to be mature as Al Mohler listed. Young people of today are learning to be dependant on others - to have things handed to them on a plate. So, they cannot learn to BE mature!
    Parents have a huge responsibilty to train their children, so that we have a generation capable of being mature. It's why people scoff at people marrying at a young age, because they don't see that most are mature enough. However, I know of young people, who, if they are raised well, have the maturity to marry younger because they have maturity in the areas that are necessary.
    Praying that you will all continue towards being mature adults!
    BTW - I agree with many points made!

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