Owls have a reputation of being wise. This owl looked rather narked- so I’ve done the picture in monochrome to represent all those who only see life in black and white. If only life were always so straightforward: but even black and white is made up of shades of grey.
I’ve “matured” to a point where I am more comfortable with complex answers. Paul talked about thinking like a child- then becoming a man and putting away childish things (1 Cor 13 v11). That process includes the way we work out our faith and theology in a world which changes at a dizzying rate. Taking the richness of the Bible and seeking to understand it and apply eternal truths to our “now” moment: a process that asks questions and raises puzzles as well as giving a bedrock foundation to belief-in-action.
How can I assess my growth? Are there signs of maturity? Let’s have a look at three Bible passages that stand FOR godliness and AGAINST the assumptions that underlie society.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. (Galatians 5) Submit yourselves, one to another. (Ephesians 5) A gentle answer turns away wrath. (Proverbs 15 v1) Do these values and principles characterize my behaviour and relationships with disciples and non-disciples? Ultimately the maturity of a disciple is seen in their transformation into the likeness of Jesus; the presence and the effect of the Spirit in their lives. Is my life about "going on going on being filled with Spirit?"- or not? I can try to answer these questions honestly- but I need the wisdom of others who are mature themselves and can see where I am succeeding AND the areas where I have work to do. It is a sign of immaturity to believe and act as though we don't need anybody else's help...
Getting older is mandatory… growing up is optional. I hope I am choosing godly wisdom and modelling myself on Jesus; and certainly doing that better with every month that speeds past. If you can see me clearly enough to offer constructive input about being more mature, then please encourage me to grow. (I have a pretty good idea of areas that need to change… God hasn’t finished with me yet.)
Becoming mature is our goal in life. Because then we WILL be like Jesus- and be able to work with Christ to change the world through His Love. That’s worth growing up for.