Danger of the term “Christian maturity”
I’ve asked many people what Christian maturity is and I get a variety of answers. Some answers describe a person who knows the Bible well. Some add it’s one whose Bible study influences their life. Some say Christian maturity is obedience to God, i.e. one who goes to church, takes their children to church and no longer carouses. Some say it is someone who gets along with others. Some say maturity refers to those who don’t do drugs, steal or lie. There is truth in all of those statements. However, there is a message that is hidden by those definitions. Christian maturity is none of the above.
Who are some who might satisfy the above definitions? The Pharisees were not mature and yet they knew the Bible well (distorted as they knew it). There are some people who are brains on a stick, but they use that knowledge to impress others rather than disciple others.
There are some who don’t do the wrong things. That is, they don’t do drugs, steal or lie, but they also don’t disciple other people. They do struggle with worry, doubting God, bitterness toward certain individuals who have hurt them and struggle with not forgiving past offenses. They consider those acceptable in life, because “everyone deals with those.” God calls them sins. Man calls them acceptable. Acceptable sins are not characteristic of Christian maturity.
There are some who are comfortable in their own setting and don’t care whether other people “get it” or not. Oh, they wouldn’t say they don’t care, but they don’t take the time to come alongside new believers who grew up having never attended church. The one who doesn’t do wrong things, do they do the right things? Do they disciple others?
There are some who say maturity is obedience to God by going to church, taking their children to Sunday School and not carouse. But a person can do that in his own power for his own purposes. He takes his children, because he isn’t willing to raise his children to the holiness of God and he expects the church to do it. Obedience is often so vague that it merely means one who doesn’t do obvious sins. There is little personal sanctification or spiritual transformation. There is little spiritual accountability. That’s no measure of maturity.
What is maturity? It’s often just a nebulous, vague and cloudy term to take a person away from their God given responsibility of the fulfilling the Great Commandment and Great Commission.
Let’s get real. Christian maturity is one who humbly loves God with all his heart, soul and strength, who is dependent on the Holy Spirit for every thought, word and action, and who submits to the Lordship of Jesus Christ raising up disciples to Jesus Christ. Christian maturity is not a spiritual infant, who does not know Scripture and is focused on self. Christian maturity is not a spiritual child, who likes learning Scripture, but is still focused on self and what self wants to do. Christian maturity is developing in spiritual young adult status, where the person has changed his focus from self to God and others. He shows this by serving and teaching others. True maturity is seen in the spiritual parent.
Christian maturity is defined in one way. It is a spiritual parent who loves God, loves others and is making disciples to Jesus Christ. If there are no disciples, mentees, or followers, the person is not a spiritual parent and is not yet become spiritually mature. The person who has not arrived is just as valuable as any other, but he has not arrived to the role of being a spiritual parent like Jesus, Paul and many others. John calls the mature, spiritual parents “Fathers” in 1 John 2:13. They know God and are living out the Father’s will.
Are you mature? Are you discipling others?