Time Out (by Jerry Schmoyer)
They say you’ll never hit your target if you don’t know what you are shooting at, but even if you hit the target in the bulls eye it won’t amount to anything if you are aiming at the wrong target. The world paints a picture of what it calls maturity, but it is a lot different from the picture God’s Word paints. Which will we aim for? Remember, we can’t hit both targets, so just how are we to tell what traits God values and wants us to aim for in our maturity?
Christian maturity demands servanthood to Christ and serving others in love (Luke 22:24-27; Mark 10:35-45). The worlds view of maturity is for one to be tough, independence and self-sufficient. Christian maturity is just the opposite. In addition, Christian maturity entails developing character traits similar to those of Jesus (1 Timothy 3:2-7; Titus 1:7-9). Love, peace, gentleness, kindness – these are not qualities the world always values.
The source of our growth in maturity is different, as well. It isn’t based on us using our strengths and abilities, but on the gifts and enablements God gives us (1 Corinthians 12:6-8). It is God’s Spirit in us that brings about He work in us (Colossians 3:16; Ephesians 5:18,Galatians 2:20-21). As Christians our motives and goals for maturity are different as well. What we accomplish is for God’s glory and for our long-term good. The worlds way is for immediate, personal gain.
So the target of Christlikeness we are shooting for is actually in the opposite direction of the target the world holds up as what maturity looks like. God values humility, the world lifts up pride. God says we are to serve, the world’s goal is to be served. God says turn the other cheek. The world says get revenge, don’t let anyone take advantage of you. What do you say?
Hebrews 6:1, “Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God…”
Matthew 12:33-35, “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.”
- What is your definition of maturity? Write it out if possible.
- What standards do you use to measure spiritual maturity in yourself or others?
- How does your Christian maturity now compare to a year ago? Where have you grown? Where is growth still needed?
- What steps should you be taking right now to keep growing spiritually maturity?
- What should you be praying for each day in order to continue to mature into more and more Christlikeness?
Jerry Schmoyer has been a minister in Pennsylvania for over 25 years and has worked with teenagers for 14 years, ever since I became one myself. He authors the weekly Time Out series here at Life in Student Ministry in hopes to spiritually refresh your soul as you continually pour so much of yourself into students. God bless!
Posted on June 16, 2008