Thursday, May 20, 2010
How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were - that is, what your level of maturity is?
An old farmer frequently described his Christian experience by saying, “Well, I'm not making much progress, but I'm well established!” One spring when he was hauling some logs, his wagon wheels sank down to the axles in mud. Try as he would, he couldn't get the wagon out. Defeated, he sat atop the logs, viewing the dismal situation. Soon a neighbour who had always felt uncomfortable with the farmer's worn-out testimony came along and greeted him, “Well, brother Jones, I see you're not making much progress, but you must be content because you're certainly well-established!
Hopefully you are not only “well-established” in the faith but making progress as well!
Paul describes the goal of his ministry to the Colossians: “We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me” (Col. 1:28-29).
But what would such maturity look like? Paul elaborates in the next few verses (2:2-5):
“My goal is that their hearts may be encouraged…”
- The sense here is to means “to call to one’s side,” signifying such ideas as support, comfort and exhortation. The central thought here is being strengthened against the attack of erroneous teaching.
“having been knit together in love, …”
- The image here is like the strands of material that together form a garment; a mutually beneficial coexistence. The mature Church functions in its interdependency. This is a part of spiritual unity in the church. An immature church is often wrought with selfishness and division.
“and attaining to all the riches that comes from the full assurance of understanding, …”
- Paul mentioned the riches of Christ earlier (Col. 1:27) and tends to use “riches” as the fullness of goods, supplies, or resources. Understanding this leads to greater assurance.
“resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”
- The mature church has both assurance of understanding and humility to appreciate the mystery of knowing Christ. Moreover, they possess a curiosity to keep seeking treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
“I say this so that no one will deceive you with persuasive arguments.”
- The image here is the arena of the philosophers and debaters. A setting bent on challenging and debunking others with persuasive speech.
“For even though I am absent in body, nevertheless I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ.”
- Although at a distance, Paul delights in their excellent lifestyle marked by discipline and stability.
Monday, May 10, 2010
This post comes courtesy of material from http://www.midnightangel308.com/what_is_maturity.htm and http://www.dumblittleman.com/2008/01/do-you-recognize-7-ingredients-of.html
• Maturity is the ability to control anger and settle differences without violence or destruction. How often do we let anger and destructive habits taint our responses to a situation? As stressful as any situation may be, we need to learn how to resolve them without turning towards anger and potentially destructive behaviour.
• Maturity is patience. It is true what they say: the best things in life often take time to come to fruition. We have to be willing to pass up immediate pleasure or rewards and realize that sometimes the best solution to a problem is to go for the resolution that gives us long-term gain. We may not get what we want today, but in the long run we will grow our lives in a multitude of ways.
• Maturity is the capacity to face unpleasantness and frustration, discomfort and defeat, without complaint or collapse. Life will present us with any unpleasant situations. Sometimes we will not only face frustration, but also defeat. We must learn that no matter how difficult or unpleasant the situation may be we should face it without complaint or giving up on it altogether. Life is about learning and we can learn a lot from the situations we face that may put us in situations where we would rather not be.
• Maturity is humility. The hardest words in the English language to say are “I’m sorry” and “I was wrong”. Yet, these words are growth words – they grow you as a person. There are times when you will be right in life, despite what others have said. Instead of rushing to say “I told you so,” realize that everyone has a different view of reality. You don’t need to gain satisfaction by gloating about an outcome. People will respect you when they see that you are willing to admit your mistakes, and when you are big enough to just let things go.
• Maturity is the ability to make a decision and follow through. Doing be a talker, be a doer! So many people have good intentions but they never follow through on them. Don’t spend your entire life thinking of all the ways you can do things and then end up doing nothing.
• Maturity means dependability and coming through in a crisis. When you say you are going to do something, do everything in your power to make it happen. If you find out you cannot do something you said you were going to do, be sure to let the other party know why and explain alternative options. Get organized in life so that people learn that they can depend on you and know that when you say you will do something they can guarantee that what you say is golden.
• Maturity is the art of living in peace. Know that there are some things in life we simply cannot change and be accepting of that. Also know that there are opportunities to change things in this world. With this knowledge you can have the courage to go forth and help bring about change for the better. Have the wisdom to know when you can make a difference and when you must be accepting of what is presented to you despite how you feel to the contrary.