<<fully developed>>

A mature approach, generally shown by older people, is a level-headed, thought out, sustainable response being aware of possible consequences as opposed to what is typical of youth – a quick emotional, impulsive reaction that only considers the present and as it lacks long-term commitment soon fades.

Maturity is accepting personal responsibility for our own growth and problems, not being overly dependent on others, yet embracing our dependency on God. The mature approach is not so concerned as to whose fault a problem is but rather how to solve it. It is not necessarily knowing all the answers, rather it is having an understanding of the overall

Mature people take personal responsibility

principles of the Kingdom of God. Being mature is the result of what we have allowed God to do in us through the events of life (Jas 1:2-4).  Good character qualities are developed when we respond correctly, while if we respond wrongly we become emotional cripples. It is our responsibility to pursue a greater intimacy with Him so our potential can be released. Every godly step to maturity is prefaced by a decision – ‘No’ to the flesh, or ‘Yes’ to the Spirit, understanding obedience to Him brings growth and blessing.

A mature Christian is not thrown by setbacks or failure but their eyes are fixed on Christ as, with perseverance, they press on towards His goal for them, confident that God is able to fully complete in them what He has started (Phil 1:6, 3:12-16; Jas 1:2-4). They overlook criticism and offences, accept constructive discipline, are under authority even when in positions of leadership, are other-focused, have growing discernment and display evidence of the fruit of the Spirit in their lives. Such people are content in their calling, and will still be standing when the battle has been won (Eph 6:13). Their advice is don’t overreact, be patient and keep calm in all situations, for God has it all under control (Rom 8:28; 2 Tim 4:5; Jas 1:19).

God’s goal is for us all to be mature attaining the full measure of Christ, to be secure in our faith, fulfilling His calling for our lives and bearing fruit through godly character (Jn 15:8; Eph 4:11-14; Col 1:9-12; Heb 5:14-6:3; 1 Pet 5:10). A person of maturity is not selfish nor views only the short-term benefits, but instead seeks knowledge, understanding with wisdom, and considers the long-term results (1 Kgs 3:5-15, 4:29-34; Prov 2:1-11, 3:13-15). They consider the path they are on, guarding the entry points into their minds, regularly evaluating their lifestyle and attitudes in total honestly to see that they are moving into a closer relationship with Christ (Prov 4:23,26).

The pathway to maturity requires ongoing motivation, consistent, onward progression and right choices.  It involves a gradual, step-by-step growth similar to the Israelites conquering Canaan (Deut 7:22,23). Our Sanctification is steadily replacing the old, evil

Am I growing up in every area?

nature with the new Christ-like one, a growing in His likeness, a commitment to being conformed into His image (Rom 8:29; Eph 4:22-24; 2 Pet 3:18). It is not about being more religious but a better reflection of true Christianity.

Paul reprimanded those who still remained infants in the faith and prayed for his readers to be mature Christians, allowing God’s presence and power in their lives (1 Cor 3:1ff, 14:20; 2 Cor 13:9). We become more mature as we move on from where we are now as Christians, learn more of God ways and allow the Holy Spirit to address issues in our lives and help advance His Kingdom (Heb 6:1).

Indicators of spiritual maturity include: a desire to be holy rather than happy; an attitude of giving rather than getting; a preference of serving rather than being served; a thankful faith acknowledging if God wasn’t for us we would be doomed; a fruitful life (a mark of a mature plant is that it can reproduce); acceptance rather than evasion of discipline; a life of love; obedience to the Lord; and being able and willing to teach others. It also includes a humility that echoes Christ’s statement, “I can of my own self do nothing” (Jn 5:30).

A person of maturity is more prone to respond appropriately at the proper time, than to instantly react when under pressure. They also do not blurt everything out; they keep their own counsel. They have a long-range perspective and overall knowledge. They know right from wrong and do right, exercising self-control (Tit 1:8). However, mature believers or those who have been Christians for some time are in danger of losing their intensity and passion for Christ, unless they maintain a close vibrant relationship with Him. This requires we prioritise and maintain our spiritual disciplines such as Bible reading/study, prayer, fellowship, service, and stewardship as we "walk by the Spirit" and obey Him which is the proof of our love (Jn 14:15; Gal 5:16).

See also: disciple/discipleship, entry points, growth, immaturity, mentors, patience, perspective, process, spiritual disciplines, steadfast, wisdom/wise.