Summary: "I want to, I need to, be more like Jesus." Thirty-four dimensions of maturity in Christ. When I became a man, I put away childish things -- including the fear of childishness and the desire to be grown-up.
The Problem of Becoming Mature in Many Aspects
The word teleios is the Greek word used for maturity. It implies a wholeness, perfection and completeness. Growing up in all aspects in Christ is a life-long exercise in discipling ourselves for the purpose of godliness.
Illustration: "I want to, I need to be more like Jesus. The end of all my prayers, is to care like my Lord cared. My one and only goal, His image in my soul. He’s faithful and He’s true to complete the work He began in you."
Keith Green - famous Christian song writer
We live in a world where the are many cultural, personal, or circumstantial obstacles that tend to stand in the way of anyone who wants to become mature in Christ. Yet, without maturity we cannot become all that God wants us to be. Neither can we know all that the Lord wants us to understand.
Illustration: As water never rises above its level so what we do never rises above what we are...We shall never take people one hair’s breadth beyond our own spiritual attainment. We may point to higher things, but we shall only take them as far as we ourselves have gone.
W.H. Griffith Thomas.
Furthermore, we cannot do all that our heavenly Father wants us to accomplish without ascending the ladders of Biblical maturity. Once certain people attain a level of proficiency in areas like teaching, relationship building, or preaching they assume that they qualify for being a mature Christian. However, the Bible commands us to grow up into ALL aspects into Christ. This holistic approach to maturity is a challenge for everyone who is serious about realizing their maximum potential.
Illustration: C.S. Lewis, on the freedom of reaching maturity:
When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am 50, I read them openly. When I became a man, I put away childish things -- including the fear of childishness and the desire to be grown-up.
Of Other World, Edited by Walter Hooper.
The following steps to maturity are filled with promised blessings and power. Every person’s journey will be unique, but it will involve the following ten levels. Your experiences may differ according to your own background or set of assumptions. Yet, maturity in Christ is the pre-requisite to accomplishing the whole will of God and experiencing His maximum power!
Illustration: You’re never too old to grow up.
Shirley Conran, Savages.
TEN STEPS TO CHRISTIAN MATURITY
1. Exposure - When the truth of the scriptures is revealed to people through teaching, preaching, films, examples, good works, conversations, healing, answers to prayers, or any means of communication, people are able to see the benefits of a mature relationship with Christ. Difficulties often occur when one is unable to present the truth in a credible, relevant, or need meeting way. We need to be open to expose ourselves to all aspects of truth because all truth is God’s truth. A closed mind impedes our ability to see the entire will of God and the full depth, breadth, height and length of God’s love. Teach people the advantages of exposing themselves to all facets of truth.
Illustration: "If you stop and ask yourself why you are not so devoted as the (early) Christians, your own heart will tell you that it is neither through ignorance nor inability, but purely because you never thoroughly intended it."
William Law, Courage - You Can Stand Strong in the Face of Fear, Jon Johnston, 1990, SP Publications, p. 34.
2. Awareness - When people gain a conscious knowledge of the aspects involved with maturity in Christ they are able to express it in their own words. However, it often takes a crisis, a problem, or some kind of adversity to make people aware of their deepest spiritual needs. Maturity is often catalyzed when people become aware of their needs for growth through a felt, perceived or experiential need. Teach people the benefit of gaining a keen awareness of the many dimensions of truth.
Illustration: The work of Japanese painter Hokusai spanned many years before his death in 1849 at age 89. But toward the end of his life, the artist dismissed as nothing all the work he had done before age 50. It was only after he reached 70 that he felt he was turning out anything worthy of note. On his deathbed Hokusai lamented, "If heaven had granted me five more years, I could have become a real painter."
Today in the Word, September 16, 1992.
3. Receptivity - When someone consents to receive something they are exhibiting an acceptance based upon its perceived worth. Belief presupposes an appreciation for the ideals of Jesus Christ and His word. Openness or receptivity to change assumes a willingness to improve in one’s relationships and ministries. Give people examples of others who benefited from change through