This piece continues from the previous piece “……………..A Mature Person, Attaining To The Measure Of Christ’s Full Stature……………. Eph. 4: 13 (I)”
Portraits of Maturity.
If the word of God and the working of His spirit yields maturity; which is the ultimate reason Jesus gave the gifts of the fivefold ministry, how then do we know and measure one who is a mature believer? Maturity isn’t engraved upon the forehead of the matured, but by their fruits we shall know them. The content of a man cannot be hidden.
It is undisputed that maturity comes with growth and development.
Apostle Paul said, “11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things”, 1 Cor. 13: 11.
Three criteria can be used to judge who is mature and who isn’t.
- Level of comprehension
- Thought pattern.
Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.
“43 For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 44 For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes.2 45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his MOUTH SPEAKETH”. Luke 6: 43
“ 3 Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. 4 Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth. 5 Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. 7 For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: 8 But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9 Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. 11 Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? 12 Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh. 13 Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom,” James 3:3-13.
The tongue is of great influence and ability; it can do and undo in spite its size. Its potency is beyond what the greatest ammunitions can do; it has started wars that cost millions of lives and properties worth uncountable trillions. It has also indirectly affected lives in countless millions as well as thwarted destinies also.
Words can do lots of good, as wells as lots of damage; it can build and destroy both physical and spiritual.
Life is Spiritual; therefore the tongue must be used to build rather than destroy, build lives and declare good. Positive and optimistic spiritual utterances must be made as often as possible.
“4 Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. 6 Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child. 7 But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. 8 Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD. 9 Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth. 10 See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.” Jeremiah 1: 4-10.
After the prophet has been touched and words put in his mouth, he was then set over kingdoms and commissioned to pull down, destroy, throw down and plant.
This job description has nothing to do with physical might and strength, but has everything to do with utterances.
“15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name” Heb. 13: 15.
What should ideally proceed out of our mouths should be sacrifice of praise, anything short of such is fruitlessness because these sacrifices is what the bible calls “fruit of our lips”
“6 Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” Col. 4: 6
The word of God is given for the purpose of doctrine, reproof, correction, and for instruction in righteousness:
The bible also says: “21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” Prov. 18: 21.
When all a man can do is to fidget and expresses the highest form of doubt, fear and pessimism despite the countless assurances embedded in the word of God; declaring how impossible or difficult a task is despite help that is made available by the supplies of the spirit, then such a man can be said to be immature.
We must continually take in the word of God because that is how faith comes; it comes by hearing and hearing the word of God. A man whose person and essence has been built and it continually sustained in the presence of God cannot utter words of defeat. Battles and wars are first won inside.
“ 1 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will SAY of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. 3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. 4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. 5 Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; 6 Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. 7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. 8 Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.” Psalm 91.
Notice that all the man will say is as a result of his constant and consistent dwelling in God’s presence. If we must say right, then we must dwell right, and this dwelling is in no other place other than in God.
Level of Comprehension
“1 Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; 2 But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father.” Gal. 4: 1 and 2
While a child is simply an offspring, a son is one that has attained equal status with his father courtesy of knowledge. Knowledge informs the mind and frames its thought pattern. While a child lacks knowledge, a son acquires as much as possible with each passing day. Courtesy of this acquired knowledge, when an issue is presented, the elements by which its scrutiny will be done will be very different.
A child’s level of comprehension and a son’s level of comprehension are very different. They are not simply parallel; rather the distance between them is an ever increasing one.
“8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” 1 Cor. 2: 8. Knowledge was deficit here, so the wrong step was taken in the wrong direction.
“32 And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment.” 1 Chr. 12: 32
“12 And all the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words that were declared unto them.” Neh. 8: 12. Ease comes with understanding and right comprehension.
One of the proofs of maturity is stability, any man that shivers at problems is a child at heart, easily blown and tossed about by every wind of happenings.
“ 17 Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.” Psalm 73: 18. The king had a heavy heart and was disturbed, until he understood, he would have remained destabilized and no king can rule with efficiency with such a state of heart.
“1 In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans; 2 In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem. 3 And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:” Dan. 9: 1 and 2.
Daniel’s understanding of what was, is, and will be based on what Prophet Jeremiah had written made him to seek God ahead of time so as to ensure that the right time set by God for the emancipation of the Israelites did not elude them.
If we must navigate accurately, then we must understood what God had set in his sovereignty.
We are not our own, we are artists on a theater called earth, and we ought to act in accordance to a script written by the chief writer himself (God).
The level to which we know and understand this and submit to it tells how mature we are. Yielding to authority, law and order is a proof of our maturity. This yielding has to be both physical and more importantly spiritual.
The third and last criterion by which a mature person is known is the ‘thought pattern’. Everyone bears witness to the fact that a child’s thought pattern and that of a grown up adult greatly differs. A child’s thought pattern is usually shallow, selfish, and lopsided.
While a child thinks ‘I want this from my dad, I need money for this and that…….’ All a child thinks of is what he can get in order to satisfy his personal selfish and immediate want/ need; a son on the other hand always thinks far into the future, rather than being myopic and selfish, his perception and thoughts are usually broad and takes into cognizance other people’s need and the repercussions of his actions. While a child thinks of how he can improve himself alone, a son tries to figure out a way to achieve success on a community level, knowing full well that anyone that succeeds alone is actually a failure, but he who succeeds alongside with others is indeed a success.
Our thought patterns are a function of our understanding and lastly, our utterances are the final products of these two. It is expedient that we grow into maturity.
Inanimate things grow, how much more humans who are the highest creations of God.
There is an expectation on us to grow, let us not fall short of such expectation.
Grace will surely profusely abound.