Matured in Love
“Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church." -Ephesians 4:15
What does it mean to be mature in Christ? The Bible says Jesus is coming back for a "spotless" bride. (Ephesians 5:27) But, what does that mean?
According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, maturity is the quality or state of being mature, full development.* When we are mature, we are considered to be "grown-up". Also, when we are mature, we can reproduce ourselves, meaning, we can disciple and be a care giver of people younger in faith.
Just as we grow up in our natural development, we grow up in our spiritual development too. The Bible says that the mature can distinguish good from evil. (Hebrews 5:14) When we mature, the fruits of the Spirit are evident in our lives. (Galatians 5:22-23) These fruits include love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control. Conversely, when we do not mature, we fall into our old fleshly behavior. "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander." -Matthew 15:19
The problem with our human nature, our flesh, is that we want to stay comfortable - we don't want to change and grow. "The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature." -Luke 8:14
Things can happen to us in our early years that can cripple our emotional development, too. Family is the place where good or poor habits are shaped and formed. We may not know if a habit is good or bad until we grow up to be on our own. Then, as we mature we realize that perhaps that way wasn't the best way to handle things.
But, as Jesus was, we are called to a high standard of maturity so that Christ's life in us may be revealed. "While Jesus was here on earth, he offered prayers and pleadings, with a loud cry and tears, to the one who could rescue him from death. And God heard his prayers because of his deep reverence for God." -Hebrews 5:7
Are you walking toward maturity in Christ today?
Related resource: Training For Reigning: Strategies for building character and maturity in Christ, by Rick Godwin