My friend Jerry Starling has said, “We do a better job being like the adolescent Jesus than the adult Jesus.” Jerry says the picture of the adolescent Jesus we have in scripture if when Jesus was at the temple at age 12. Jerry says, the boy Jesus was answering and asking questions and that we often do a better job on that level of Jesus’ ministry than what we see in his adult ministry. Paul talks about the need for Christian maturity. Paul makes it very clear that one of the goals of our lives is to become “fully mature in Christ.” (Col 1:28). That means we have to grow up in our faith.
Several things happen when you grow toward maturity:
- The things that once used to interest you so much will change. You will get less interested in being right and clobbering people with the truth and more interested in actually trying to save souls.
- You will get more focused on inward renewal and maturing in your desires that ultimately leads to outward expressions and actions rather than trying to grow solely through behavior modification.
- The things that are trivial will appear more trivial and the things that are of utmost importance will stand out.
- Your gifts will get used less for self and more for God and others.
- Your love will increase.
- Your knowledge will increase.
- Your hunger for God’s Word will increase.
- More and more people will see Jesus in you.
- Glory and honor become less about you and more about God.
- Sacrifice will feel less sacrificial and the joy of giving (of self, time, talents, money) will feel less costly and more like a reward in and of itself.
“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” – Ephesians 4:11-16