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Maturity in Christ…DEFINE IT PLEASE…

Pondering the whole Discipleship thing, reading a couple of books, and a comment in a book led me down this thought path…what is a mature Christian, how do you measure this, how do you define it, when is some one mature..?

There are hundreds of ideas and bible passages that you could use, but how do you really define mature and when is a person mature enough for ministry..?

Here’s a thought, what if “Mature enough for Ministry” was a MYTH, or at least was a myth the way we see it and how we use it…?

Clearly the bible talks about maturity, not being a novice, being grounded, having foundations in your life, going on to maturity…but it is pretty tricky to define.

A thought I had (which is a bit negative) was this…do we confuse maturity with our own personal judgment of some one whom we see as immature, and then because we see them as immature, we declare that they either “are or are not” ready for ministry, and is that all “our opinion”. I am ready, but you are not, you still have some stuff to sort out, a few issues to deal with…

I realized that we have never seen maturity this way. John 14:12 says “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also: and greater works…”. For Jesus, the fact that you believe is enough for you to be great. Just believing, is what makes you ready for ministry. In this passage, it’s the only qualification mentioned to do exactly what Jesus did and more.

Maturity was never mentioned as a qualification and the idea was never used to limit or control anyone, which is what I think we sometimes do.

Jesus never told anyone that they weren’t ready. Of course people still had to grow and develop (this never really stops), but this happened on the run, as they were moving, as they were ministering.

What if everyone was ready when they believed (clearly not negating the need for further growth or development, which should be ongoing), but what if the starting point was when a person accepted Christ, came to faith.

The women at the well must of been ready after only one short encounter with Jesus, she led hundreds to Him. (John 4)

The demonised man at the lake of the Gadareness (Mark 5:19), seemed also to be declared to be ready after one significant encounter with Jesus.

I want to make sure that in my heart I am not putting obstacles in front of people, giving them tasks or hurdles that they need to clear before “they can”.

Christian Maturity is not mine to define, it’s not my standard to set over another. I can set it for myself, but not for anyone else.

We can grow forever in our understanding of Jesus, but do we ever grow in how much of Him, His Spirit, there is inside of us…? Does He ever give Himself in only portions…? Colossians 1:27…

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4 Comments »

  1. We Westerners tend to add hurdles for believers to jump over before we allow new believers to minister. My belief is that if they have a mouth, a testimony, and two hands, send them. Nothing keeps a new believer excited about Jesus more than doing His works and giving their testimonies.

  2. Hi Mark,

    Some thoughts I have…if different to yours in some parts, or adding to what you say, It’s not in an argumentative way…….I tend to write more formally….just my style…and habits of an English teacher!

    Maturity is a goal, or an end product of voluntary submission to Jesus in all areas of life. When we submit to his will, He changes us. We can’t be mature unless it’s Jesus living through us. “It’s no longer I who lives but Christ who lives in me” Gal2:20 . The process could be called discipleship. If we aren’t committed to changing into Christ’s image, which is what discipleship is all about, then we won’t mature.

    I’ve attached a link of one man reading something about discipleship. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OzOI4l1N694&feature=youtu.be The 2min video quote is good…

    You said “Just believing, is what makes you ready for ministry. In this passage, it’s the only qualification mentioned to do exactly what Jesus did and more”

    Yes I believe just believing qualifies you for a lot of things.The whole book of Galatians exhorts the believers to not return to law to be justified, but to continue to live by faith. If we keep believing, God matures us and uses us. Having been saved for example, qualifies us to preach the gospel…once we know how to use scripture to explain it, but we can testify straight away.

    But you also said “Maturity was never mentioned as a qualification and the idea was never used to limit or control anyone, which is what I think we sometimes do.”

    However, it is mentioned as qualification for certain things. If you build a church, you need reliable mature (not old) people to lead. Paul set out the qualifications which are all character and a certain level of maturity, in his letter to Timothy. It stands to reason you can’t have someone who is always drunk in leadership,and so on.

    When you think about it, you could lead others to Christ, heal the sick or greet the saints on Sunday without much maturity, but not lead. So it becomes important in some things I think.

    You also said “We can grow forever in our understanding of Jesus, but do we ever grow in how much of Him, His Spirit, there is inside of us…? Does He ever give Himself in only portions…? Colossi ans 1:27…”

    If we don’t grow in how much of him is inside us, we don’t grow. The exchange that Gal 2:20 talks about, says ‘its no longer I who live but Christ” …yet we know ‘we’ still live in ways we don’t want to….something happens and we realize we have greed or lust, or hate within us. We have to keep surrendering ourselves to be filled and changed. I am sure by scripture and experience that Christ’s presence in me increases if I let Him. John the Baptist said “I must decrease so that He may increase.” He was talking about his public presence, but I think there is something in that statement. The more of us there is on display, our old self, old ways, the less Jesus can be seen. Rick Warren said this on FB today “The more you surrender to God, the stronger you become.”.

    I think you’re understanding that your growth is important not pointing fingers or making judgements is important. But if you have started a church or want to start more, you have to decide based on scripture who is ready for some types of ministry (leaders esp). The Corinthians were used a lot in gifts of the spirit but called immature.So I believe you can safely let anyone be used in the gifts.

    I don’t know all there is to discipleship, church building or anything else, but I want to know more. My Pastor in Ireland years ago, who was leading a small church, selected leaders, and spent a lot of time building relationships. He had read some books by Juan Carlos Ortiz

    It’s worth working through these tough issues I reckon, I am also trying to learn what discipleship really is, and as well as looking at scripture , I have started reading some books. I haven’t read the books of the guy in the video link above, but would like to.

    I like these sorts of discussions.

    Catcyalader

    Jim

  3. That’s an interesting way to look at maturity. I’ve never thought of in in that way. I’m not too sure how to answer the question.

    Rob D.

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