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PASTORS' DAILY DEVOTIONAL
Dec
12

What is Maturity?

Wayne Cordeiro

Scripture
"Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity..." (Hebrews 6:1)
Observation
What would "maturity" look like?

I know that the being a Christian will have certain markings, a certain lifestyle, specific habits that they do such as praying when you are in need and attending church on Sundays. That's the basic program. A second, more intermediate phase may be reading the Bible when troubles are near. Then the third, and seemingly most advanced stage is to have memorized a few Scriptures, do devotions, they tithe, and they get involved in a few church activities. Those five habits would for the most part, be the defining of "maturity." Even non-Christians would define it as such, I'm sure.

But for me, it must go beyond that. It is not just the basic five. It has to be a life fully lived within the Kingdom of God. It has to be a glow rather than a task, something natural rather than something of duty.

In the 2nd Century, a letter is written to Diognetus describing this unique grouping of people they called Christians. In part it reads:

"They marry like everyone, they have children, but they do not abandon their new-born. They have the table in common, but not the bed. They are in the flesh, but do not live according to the flesh. They dwell on earth, but are citizens of heaven.

They obey the laws of the state, but in their lives they go beyond the law. When they are cursed, they bless. When they are insulted, they answer with kind words."

And from Tertullian in the 2nd Century, he writes: "You will never find any Christian in prison, unless he be there for religious reasons. We have learned from God to live honest lives".

A mature Christian is one who becomes known, no longer for what he does but for who he is. It is when the things he has believed have been so sifted into his innermost being that he lives with a grace, a wisdom that even non-Christians can recognize.

Like Daniel in the Old Testament, he served four kings who didn't follow the God of the Hebrews yet they all wanted Daniel to be their top counselor. I am sure it wasn't because of his use of religious clichés or him constantly reminding others of his belief system. Rather, it was that he was so valuable to the King's purposes. He used great insight; he didn't require constant supervision; he did above and beyond his duties, he fulfilled his tasks, showed up on time, and was loyal more than the rest. Daniel was someone with leadership gifts that were honed and a character that was dependable. His possessed an "excellent" spirit and when he was around, people were glad.

But it is not like that today. There are those who proclaim Christianity but their lifestyle is only tolerable at best. They want people to value them because of their beliefs rather than for the reality of what they contribute.

And unlike Daniel, it is said that some people make you happy when they arrive, and others make you happy when they leave.

But these who make you happy upon their exit ... are still Christians. But are they mature? That's the question that plagues me. I say this tongue in cheek, but it is often immature Christians and underdeveloped leaders that hurt the cause of Christ more than the devil himself.

As Hebrews says, these immature ones just stick with the elementary teachings. They browbeat others with them, and they re-preach it dozens of times a day in dozens of various ways.

But the mature ones are the Daniels.
Application
That is what I want to be. I want to tuck away the elementary principles, allow them to influence everything I do, but move onward to greater things so that in some way, even non-Christians will see the value and benefit from not only the things I do but from the person I am.
Prayer
Lord Jesus, YOU were like that. It was simply who You were, not just what You did. People sensed heaven when they were in Your presence. Help me to shift my mind so that I understand that what I do is great, but I must get comfortable in who I am and simply live out loud.

Devotions for December 12

Hebrews 5,6,7,8

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