Someone has said, “If we aim at nothing, we are likely to hit it.” A definite goal is needed, and Jesus provides one for the church. We are to go into all the world teaching the Good News of Jesus and baptizing those who believe. But what then? Jesus answers, “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:20a).
The apostle Paul understood his duty, and expressed it in these words, “Him we proclaim, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man mature in Christ” (Colossians 1:28).
When we ask, “What does maturity in Christ mean?” part of it, at least, is in the negative: the putting away of childish things, childish traits and childish qualities of mind. The apostle Paul said, “When I became a man, I gave up childish ways” (1 Corinthians 13:11b). To do that is a life program of becoming a mature Christian.
There are many things about little children that charm us, but when childish ways of behavior are carried on into adult years it is a sad thing to see. One trait of a child in the earliest years is self-centeredness. He does not have any clear consciousness of other people. The “baby” of advanced years from thirty to ninety, is affected with the same type of blindness. People who insist on “having their own way”, regardless of others, are sick people. Alfred Adler says emphatically that when an individual has difficulty adjusting himself to a group, he demonstrates his immaturity. He is not normal. And this “having my own way” hangover from childhood can be disastrous in the church.
The Bible calls upon me to examine myself. Where am I in my spiritual life? Am I still in the childhood state of pouting and crying? Am I growing up? Have I reached maturity? Have I grown up enough to hear the words of the apostle Paul, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others”? (Philippians 2:4).
When we are able to focus on others rather than self, we are growing toward maturity in Christ. May God help us to that end! John Gipson, Windsong church of Christ