"Speaking the truth in love let us grow up into all aspects of
Christ." (Eph. 4:15)
THE PROBLEM OF BECOMING MATURE IN MANY ASPECTS
Many cultural, personal, or circumstantial obstacles are bound to stand in the way of anyone who wants to become mature in Christ. Yet, without maturity we cannot become all that God wants us to be. Neither can we know all that the Lord wants us to understand. Furthermore, we cannot do all that our heavenly Father wants us to accomplish without ascending the ladders of Biblical maturity. Once certain people attain a level of proficiency in areas like teaching, relationship building, or preaching they assume that they qualify for being a mature Christian. However, the Bible commands us to grow up into ALL aspects into Christ. This holistic approach to maturity is a challenge for everyone who is serious about realizing his or her maximum potential. The following steps to maturity are filled with promised blessings and power. Every person's journey will be unique, but it will involve the following ten levels. Your experiences may differ according to your own background or set of assumptions. Yet, maturity in Christ is the pre-requisite to accomplishing the whole will of God and experiencing His maximum power!
TEN STEPS TO CHRISTIAN MATURITY
1. Exposure - When the truth of the scriptures is revealed to people through teaching, preaching, films, examples, good works, conversations, healing, answers to prayers, or any means of communication, people are able to see the benefits of a mature relationship with Christ. Difficulties often occur when one is unable to present the truth in a credible, relevant, or need meeting way. We need to be open to expose ourselves to all aspects of truth because all truth is God's truth. A closed mind impedes our ability to see the entire will of God and the full depth, breadth, height and length of God's love. Teach people the advantages of exposing themselves to all facets of truth.
2. Awareness - When people gain a conscious knowledge of the aspects involved with maturity in Christ they are able to express it in their own words. However, it often takes a crisis, a problem, or some kind of adversity to make people aware of their deepest spiritual needs. Maturity is often catalyzed when people become aware of their needs for growth through a felt, perceived or experiential need. Teach people the benefit of gaining a keen awareness of the many dimensions of truth.
3. Receptivity - When someone consents to receive something they are exhibiting an acceptance based upon its perceived worth. Belief presupposes an appreciation for the ideals of Jesus Christ and His word. Openness or receptivity to change assumes a willingness to improve in one's relationships and ministries. Give people examples of others who benefited from change through a receptive attitude.
4. Involvement - People seek ministry involvement when they want to experience something first hand. Involvement implies the fact that one is willing to invest time, talents, resources, and energies into something outside of their own sphere of familiarity. Sharing experiences with Godly people may be the first step to great involvement with Christ, His body, and Christian service. Prove to people from your own life the advantages of being involved in the following aspects of Christian maturity.
5. Growth - People begin to mature when they want to experience the benefits of a deeper relationship with Christ and His will for their lives. Growth implies change that may not always be pleasant, but is understood to be worthwhile. A growing Christian is one who is willing to seek to produce fruit. Give people examples of the rewards for growth in the following twenty areas of Christian maturity.
6. Developing - Christians who are learning to utilize their gifts and abilities can be said to have reached this stage. Sadly, many believers are yet to identify their gifts and talents. Failure to risk various types of service often means that people lack discernment in determining their strengths. Give people an opportunity to utilize their gifts and discover and develop what unique gifts God has given them.
7. Discipling - Maturing believers actively take opportunities to lead, feed, and enable developers to become disciples. Despite the hardships involved these disciple-makers are willing to work together on ministry projects. Through an apprenticeship program disciple-makers nurture their disciples toward maturity. Guide people through the processes of disciple-making in your church and community.
8. Leading - A leader causes others to follow their example in words, deeds, and ideals. When one helps to organize others in Bible studies, prayer groups, and house fellowships they are shepherding a flock toward maturity. Give people chances to exercise their leadership skills by supervising them in assigned group responsibilities.
9. Multiplying - It is one thing to lead, but it is even better to produce mature believers in quantity and quality. The Lord wants to help us multiply our converts, disciples, and churches. God is keenly interested in multiplying His love, righteousness, and truth throughout all people groups of the world. Multiply your leaders by sending them to various churches and fields where they can start new churches, schools, or house fellowships.
10. Christlikeness - The highest level of maturity is experienced when one becomes like Jesus in attitudes, perspectives, and actions. Most of the problems of life could be solved if people became more like the Master. From Christ come all goodness, power, and truth. It is not what is on the outside of a person that defiles one, but what comes from within. We are able to do everything that God asks us to do through Christ who gives us the strength and power! Help people see how Christ is producing fruit through your life in your teaching, preaching, and disciple-making ministries.