“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.”
Colossians 3:12-14 (NKJV)
I was so immature back in high school, at least that’s what the girls who I chased after would say about me. It was as if I hadn’t reached a level of maturity where any of these girls would ever be caught dead with me let alone accept my invitation to go out on a date. I’d usually asked them to come with me to the local skating rink on a Friday night. I’d get refused because, “I have to do something with my parents that night.” Yeah! Right! That’s why she’s skating with Derek St. Jock during the “couples only” segment of the night…whatever.
However, as time went by the skating rink lost its luster and Stephanie would marry, then divorce, Derek…C’est la vie’. Sometimes I look back on that time period and chuckle to myself. At first, I concluded that I went after girls who were way outta my league anyway. They were all college bound girls with “well-to-do” families and I was nowhere near “well-to-do” let alone college bound. As time has gone by, I ended up marrying a girl who did go to college, came from a farm-raised family and we both made a decision to follow Jesus Christ in our later years. Maturity has now taken a whole new definition to live by. What do I mean by that?
Back in high school my perception of maturity was one where I mistook those in “well-to-do” families and in those college-prep classes as “THE MATURE”. Now that time has done its work, that perception has changed. But I’ll apparently make the same mistake when it came to being a follower of Jesus. I viewed those who have higher academics in Biblical Theology as being mature Christians. After all, God isn’t gonna just reveal who He is to just anyone, right? Surely, we’ve got to know our Word to know who God is, right? Well, hold on there Don Juan de la Roller Derby…
“The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” — Deuteronomy 29:29
When I arrive at Deuteronomy 29:29 it’s in those moments where an Omniscient God has left me wondering if I know anything at all about being a “Christianos” (Acts 11:26). Here’s where the wondering starts, in Francis Chan’s book, “Until Unity”, I’ll trip over this statement…
“But many never reach maturity because they never lead others. Instead of becoming teachers, they stay in a constant state of learning (Hebrews 5:12). Some refuse to lead, while others spend a lifetime believing they aren’t ready. To prepare themselves, they start taking classes. They read Christian books. They dig into sermon after sermon, believing this is what it means to grow in maturity. But this where the great deception begins. Rather than staying on the path to maturity (which includes increasing in knowledge), they take a different road that focuses primarily on attaining information. While they are increasing in knowledge, they are not growing in humility.” OUCH!!!!
This falls right into the “I write a better Freedom Fighter than I live” category. I’m constantly doing all those educational things that Chan states but is any of it penetrating my own, seemingly conflicted heart? Is what God revealing to me, through all this academia, being put into motion by me, so that I am actually “doing all the words of this law”? Or is the accusation in Hebrews 5:12 correct and I got one of those silly new paper straws in my mouth instead of a steak knife in my hand? I mean, I ain’t so humble a man if I gotta go up to people and say, “…but I’m really humble guy at heart.” That’s something Jesus didn’t ever do. So now what?
Well, Chan gives a warning, “Acquiring knowledge without using in love for others leads to a pride that takes you further from Christ.” Simply put, “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up” (1 Cor 8:1) So in closing, the passage outta Colossians that I chose for today gives us that answer to what Christian maturity looks like. So it’s only fitting to conclude with the rest of The Apostle’s thought…
“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” (Colossians 3:15-17) Amen?
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris is a husband, a father, has an education in Biblical doctrine and is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy. He has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Think About This: “When we equate maturity with knowledge, it’s easy to justify a life spent acquiring knowledge and finding fault with others.” – Francis Chan