I recently tweeted: “Don't blame God for the pain your own immaturity drags you thru. Grow instead!” Some wondered if I was talking to them. I wasn't. I was talking to us, all of us. We all live in a tension between immaturity and maturity. This reality compasses our own state, as well as those of the people we encounter. We are all located along the maturity continuum, somewhere between being a novice, and person of understanding.
We know that immaturity is unavoidable, as everyone has to begin, right?
We also know that immaturity is not a place to linger, as we are destined to grow and develop into people who are of “full stature” – fully grown up into Christ – who is in fact our Guide in this process. Immaturity exposes us to instability and distractibility, as the scriptures describe such as “driven by the wind and tossed here and there.” A hallmark of maturity then should be stability. Whose manner of life, regardless of opposition or blessing, is stable? This is a very good goal to aspire to, and one we can grow toward.
An observation of mine about one of the exposures of immaturity is that we tend to stress the things as primary, even central, that we have most recently been exposed to. I think this is an example of being driven around by the “winds” of doctrine. It is possible for us to be learning all the time, on a continual basis, and not come to maturity, if the things we are learning are not the things that will help us mature. The Bible has some examples of this that are intended to caution us, rerouting our path away from such pitfalls.
I think this is one reason why the Bible adjures us to think of ourselves in a sober way, not overestimating our own stature or progress. The person who maturity will perpetually evade is the person who is sure they have already arrived. We all have some growing and learning to do, of this we can be certain.
Who are your counselors? The answer to this question may point to your immaturity, and also your hope for getting beyond it!
One plague among believers that I have observed in action is the one mentioned in Malachi which the spirit of Elijah is sent to remedy. The hearts (read preoccupations) of the fathers & mothers being on their own things while the children also live the same way. Let's keep in mind here that selfishness is an expression of childishness, and it should be without surprise that children are focused on their own things, but the fathers and mothers should know better. They should have come to a level of maturity that has witnessed their liberation from selfishness.
I have observed in our times that spiritually immature people are in many ways raising (and being raised by) their own peers. When this is the case, you can be sure to overpay for the education. Like the counselors of Rehoboam, they are guiding each other in ways that few can survive, and which pays an unnecessarily heavy toll with a it's high casualty rate. Have a glance at Rehoboam's life if you don't know the story well. You can find it by clicking here!
How do we avoid this?
Are you listening to people who have by their life and experience proven their faithfulness of God, or to those whom you think you can relate to as a peer? Keep in mind the old saying, the same level of intelligence that got us into this mess won't be the one to get us out! Surely, peer input is good in it's place, but it's not intended to be the only input you seek or receive.
Let us reach beyond ourselves, and the counsel that we may be comfortable with, and press forward toward the prize of Christ's high calling, whose claim on our lives is valid and complete.