The other day I was thinking about something that, well is missing in our culture. OK, I know, I know there’s a lot missing in today’s culture. So I will be specific–there is a lack of maturity. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines maturity as “he quality or state of being mature“. OK, so what mature? One of the definitions given is: “of or relating to a condition of full development“. EUREKA! THAT’S IT!
Full development as a whole person. But like the description of some nations, many are underdeveloped. They remind me of this Commercial:
Many people today just aren’t themselves because they have failed to mature. To reach full development as a whole person, we need to turn to something more than the culture of today offers. The views and values of this current culture has only promoted and provided a level of immaturity rarely seen in the history of humanity. And many need more than a Snicker’s Bar.
I’m reminded of Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 3:18–“So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.” Maturity happens as we align our heart, mind, and purpose to the will and desires of God. Problem is people are too often absorbed and focused on their will and desires. The result of self-absorption is a pettiness and narrow-mindedness that has made people feel and act like they are miserable. Worse than this, they believe they are miserable. Event worst, they ARE miserable.
But to change this environment, we need to get back to Paul’s words. We need to allow The Holy Spirit to change us more and more to become like Jesus. Maturity happens as our hearts, minds and actions reflect Jesus rather than the world. You can’t be yourself, if you are like the world. You are made for something better. You’re not you when you’re not hungry for Jesus. Not even a Snickers Bar can help.
(I just added this one because I love Don Rickles.)
No, this isn’t about betting and gambling. It’s about a much ignored principle that is necessary to follow Jesus. The principle is: MATURITY! To be more exact, becoming Mature as a follower of Jesus. The lack of encouraging and teaching about Maturity is glaringly absent across the board of theological thought. Both evangelicals and progressives are failing miserably in understanding Maturity. I feel like the writer of Hebrews felt in these words:
Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about cleansing rites, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.
Hebrews 6:1-2 (NIV)
And I know that for many seasons of my life, I have come up short in arena of Maturity. But lately I have gone back to being a Disciple rather than a Pastor and Teacher. It has been a neglected journey far too often; but now, consider me simply a “student” sharing a report with the rest of the class of what I am discovering about this process of Maturity.
I’m not sharing “Steps To Maturity”–steps rarely work. But Principles work in every situation. I am praying this nearly every day. And the days I forget to pray these principles…let’s just say it shows in my spiritual life. I call this principle The Maturity Trifecta! Remember, this isn’t a 3 steps to Maturity, but an attitude and desire of the WHOLE PERSON. Here is the process and principles that each of us needs to begin each day with, and all day long.
1. Lord, help me keep my heart pure. 2. Lord, help me keep my mind focused on YOU. 3. Lord, help me keep my actions holy.
Face it, our hearts, left to itself, is tainted. We become selfish and even mean when our heart is neglected. Only The Holy Spirit can help keep our hearts pure. And our minds? Dear Lord in Heaven, without HIS help our thinking becomes twisted and vile; after all, it’s where Satan attacks us. And our actions must be holy. Holiness isn’t defined primarily by what we DON’T DO, and there’s a lot we shouldn’t do. Holiness is also what WE DO, it’s found in our actions. You can’t see what’s in my heart. You can’t see what’s in my mind (there are times you should be thankful for that!). But you can see my actions and hear my words.
So, pray! Every day and all day long, pray The Maturity Trifecta! Application of this Principle will lead you towards Maturity In Christ and God’s Kingdom will invade this world. Love God with all your heart. Love others the way Jesus loves you. And make sure all the glory goes to HIM!