This month I begin a series of writings on maturity. I have had several experiences recently that have helped me decipher my compass. As I discern such things, I continuously ask myself specific questions in observation, on occasions, and for predictions. Though I am at a good place on this path of knowing God more, moments still exist where I must stop on the smooth trail; suddenly, green leaves dry up and cover my way. Where visibility becomes scarce for a while, and breath becomes shorter. While quoting John Calvin, Dr. Sinclair Ferguson once said, “The devil enjoys showing up on Sunday.” There is every bit of truth in this statement.
My “Sundays” are good days. They are days when everything is going right. When despite differences, I may talk them out. When I feel as though I carry my heart in a travel bag on the way to a serene destination. But this bag, no matter how much I hold on to it with care, still gets thrown around by turbulences of life. It gets ripped after so many passages. Nonetheless, I patch this bag until the unwanted visitor slips in again on Sundays. Unfortunately, I must be ready for these visits because the thing is, it’s not if he comes, it’s when.
He comes in people, everyday situations, work environments, at the park, and while driving. This beast is everywhere! And even when I am led to repeat “Get thee behind me,” he still tries his best to upstage every effort on those Sundays. Bitter, bitter, bitter is his personality. An angry, deceitful fool!
How did we arrive here as a society? How? Our maturity is regularly tested based on these circumstances and broken open by blatant and deliberate craziness! Bringing movements into the wilderness of repeated familiar and unfamiliar events. Some are so tiresome that only a scream seems to offer freedom. Yet, this form of liberty leads only to bondage with no meaningful, mature, or intelligent solutions. Our Jesus gives us complete freedom, though. Indeed, we are fortunate.
J.I. Packer wrote:
“Ease and luxury, such as our affluence bring today, do not make for maturity; hardship and struggle, however, do.”
The Apostle Paul eloquently wrote in 1 Corinthians 13 v. 11:
“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.”
To keep Paul’s words in context, I add 1 Corinthians 13 v. 12:
“For now we see a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.”
Regarding maturity and 1 Corinthians 13 v. 11, Paul’s discipline is the type I aim for. But for all the hopeful and well-prepared dialogues to exemplify grown-up ways, I still seem to slip up. I fall short mostly in sheer silence. A silence like summer window tiers, where I want so much to say something. I can see the sun shining through the tiers. This sun offers solutions, but I peek out and withdraw. I say nothing! Yes, silence, too, is a sign of immaturity, even spiritual immaturity. After all, God’s Spirit is never silent.
In 1 Corinthians 13 v. 12, I find the writings of the mirror being dim, quite interesting. Scholars have noted that mirrors in ancient times were constructed from polished metals such as bronze. These only gave a faint reflection of the people who used them. I also touch on Paul’s thoughts on ‘face-to-face’. We know he refers to the second coming of Christ here. The Old Testament discusses this in several verses (see, Gen. 32 v 30; Ex. 33 v 11; Deut. 5 v 4; and others). These verses speak of seeing God’s personality. Of seeing His supreme maturity! Therefore, our reflection should be so (Gal. 5 v 22). We must strive for His complete personality. Striving we do but know also that only Jesus holds these magnificent elements.
As we spend time in God’s words, we get to know and grow more in Him. Paul’s words are used plentifully in this week’s reflection, and I add more by reminding us:
“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 his energy that he powerfully works within me.” (Colossians 1 vv. 28-29)
Dear reader, even on trying days, we must always seek a stance in maturity, which is in direct contrast with the infancy of immaturity. In dutifulness we must toil!
I’ll go a bit deeper next week.
We grow, together!
Packer, J. I. (1990). A quest for godliness: The Puritan vision of the Christian life. Crossway Books, pg. 22
All Bible verses are from the English Standard Version (ESV). Crossway Publishers.