Characteristics of Maturity


          “till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love” (Ephesians 4:13-16).

          Every concerned father wants to see his child grow and mature physically into adulthood. The same concern can be said about God and His spiritual children.

          It is clear from Ephesians 4:13-16 that God has planned and made ample provisions for His children to grow from spiritual infancy into adulthood. From this text, note these four characteristics of maturity found in it:

          Stability. For all of us, life has its winds, storms, and floods (Matthew 7:24-27); but this truth does not mean your mental, emotional, and/or spiritual states must be tossed to and fro and carried about by your circumstances. A mature person is one who exercises sufficient self-control over his mind, soul, and spirit that he is steady and consistent when life is not.

          Discernment. Children are easily beguiled by tricksters and deceivers. Their great strength of innocently trusting others is exploited by the unscrupulous. A mature person is one who is wise as a serpent in discernment, yet harmless as a dove in conduct (Matthew 10:16).

          Balance. “Speaking the truth in love” necessitates maturity. An unbalanced focus on either speaking the truth or being “loving” will not say what needs to be said in a way it needs to be said. Maturity balances what is said with how it is said so that neither truth nor love is shortchanged.

          Responsibility. “Every part does its share.” Immature people are irresponsible. They are skilled at making excuses instead of doing their part. In the body of Christ, the spiritually mature are never a detriment to the growth and edification of the body.

          May it never be said of you what was said of the spiritually immature Christians in the first century: “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food” (Hebrews 5:12).

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Author: jchowning

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