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Maturity Rarely Happens Solo

By David Olshine | Director, Youth Ministries, Columbia International University, South Carolina. | April 24 2009

As a young Christian attending seminary, I once heard a sermon in chapel that explained God’s goal for us is to become mature. The message was good, but the messenger never explained what maturity is and how one achieves it. Who are the spiritually mature?

Are they the people who possess a deep knowledge of the Bible and have memorized all the key passages? Are those who preach effective sermons spiritually mature? What about people who always think and talk about heaven or those who talk and act super spiritually? Does maturity come from following rules, such as the folks who don’t smoke, chew or run with those who do? Is maturity confirmed by those who chant, “I love Jesus, yes I do! I love Jesus; how ‘bout you”?

God tells us through His Word how we are to achieve spiritual maturity.

“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature should take such a view of things; and if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained” (Philippians 3:14-16).

What is maturity? The text defines it: Maturity is living up to God’s calling (Philippians 3:16). Each one of us is dysfunctional on some level, and each one of us has some strengths and sweet spots. We each are a mixture of maturity and immaturity, but the goal is set high: Live up to what Jesus calls us to be and do. Nobody has it totally together. The apostle Paul even admitted that about himself: “Not that I have already obtained…” (Philippians 3:12).

Mentoring

Maturity takes time and is a process. How will we press on to maturity? One way is through mentoring. Paul wrote, “Join with others in following my example…” (Philippians 3:17). Maturity will not happen solo. Youth workers are great at mentoring teens and volunteers, but who mentors us?

A mentor is someone who has skills in which we are deficient, someone who can teach, guide and move us closer to maturity. Is there anyone mentoring you up close and personally? If not, then maturity will develop slowly.

Explore and discover the areas in which you are deficient, then look for people who fit the bill. For example, I realized in the last few years that I need to be a better listener; so I have spent lots of time with my friend Hule. Also, I have wanted to be a better counselor, so I meet weekly with Larry, the maestro of asking questions.

Mentors can help us figure out what Jesus is calling us to be and do. They can help us answer questions such as: What excites you? What motivates you? What has God hardwired you to do? Mentors can help validate that for which we were made. They can confirm and affirm our calling.

What is your destiny? Maturity is learning to figure that out; discovering your skill set and sweet spots; working in your strengths and knowing your weaknesses. The Lone Ranger needed Tonto; Laurel needed Hardy. Whom do you need to help you mature and do the work God has called you to do? Who can you ask to mentor you so you don’t have to grow solo?

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