Last week I had a great conversation with a friend I’ve known for over 40 years. Darrell and I were discussing what real maturity as a Christian/Christian Leader actually looks like.
What qualities or attributes would they have?
Darrell had been thinking a fair amount about this verse:
“Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.”
~ Colossians 1:28,29 ESV
We both agreed that Paul is saying that his main purpose in life was to see the people he worked with become “Mature” in Christ.
I shared this verse with him:
“Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”
~ John 14:21 ESV
We both agreed that Jesus is saying that the person who learns to consistently obey is the one who truly loves Jesus and that person will experience the Triune God in deeper and more significant ways.
Responding to God in simple obedience through the power of the Holy Spirit is one of the marks of a maturing Christian.
Here are a few more thoughts on becoming and helping leaders and others become maturing Christians.
Among the reformed tribe I run in, there is too much of an emphasis on approaching the Bible doctrinally but not devotionally. Having the correct theology is important but is not an end in itself. Good theology (what I believe) should lead to good doxology (the way I live.)
It’s a matter of asking not only what does a book, chapter, passage or verse saying, but what is it saying to me? In other words, coming to the Bible with an application mindset not an information mindset. The Lord gave us His Word not merely to inform us but also to transform us. It’s not a matter the head only, but also the heart. It’s 18 inches from your head to your heart, but it’s the longest 18 inches in the world.
I believe it’s a fallacy of great magnitude when we encourage people to listen to one more sermon, read one more book, attend one more conference, partake in one more podcast, watch one more instructive video and all the while assuming that maturity will be the result. All of this is good, but not good enough. We need to place more emphasis on, and encourage, more thinking, discussion and applying the information we’re getting, not just gathering more and more and doing little with it.
James says it well, “But be doers of the Word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”
~ James 1:22 ESV.
Could we be deceiving ourselves thinking that getting more and more information is the most important thing?
Our Lord Jesus expressed the same idea when He said to His disciples, “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.”
~ John 13:17 ESV.
Notice that Jesus didn’t say if you KNOW these things you are blessed but, rather, if you DO these things you are blessed. The blessing is not in the knowing but in the doing, We need to teach people to obey with the power of the Holy Sprit (Matthew 28:20) what they receive.
A word of encouragement/challenge to those reading this who are preachers and teachers of the Bible. How about giving people space and time to think and pray right after your share content; with a view toward applying what they are receiving from you.