The word "mature" is used in the English Standard Version 8 times.
The first time is in the parable of the seeds.
Luke 8:14 The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.
This is a lesson in how NOT to mature. Those people who are "choked" by the trials and tribulations of life, who are distracted by riches and pleasure; these do not mature.
In order to mature...keep your focus on the cross, follow the Word.
The second is 1 Corinthians 2: 6
Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away.
Don't get sucked in by the "wisdom of this age". What is the direction that "culture" is moving? Should the church be moving in that same direction (this is not outward appearance, music style, etc).
Are our churches getting "squishy" on abortion? Some are and that is the wisdom of this age.
Are our churches getting soft on homosexuals in church leadership and/or gay marriage? Some are and that is the wisdom of this age.
Are our churches caving in on women in head leadership roles? If so, then they are caving to the wisdom of this age.
The wisdom of God is not the wisdom of this age and it is to the mature that the wisdom of God is imparted.
The third time (ESV) is in 1 Corinthians 14: 20
Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.
This passage speaks to the speaking of tongues in a worship situation...There is an order to worship, our God is not a God of confusion.
To teach and worship in a way that is against Scripture is to teach and worship in a way that is immature.
In issues of today (women in leadership, etc.) it seems that those who claim to be more mature (since Scripture does not tell us that women in leadership is the sign of maturity) may in fact be the ones who need to mature...
To be mature, follow Scripture in your worship and teaching...or maybe just as important, if you label others as immature because they do not worship and teach as you do, it may be time for a little self-examination.
The fourth time the word "mature" is used in Ephesians 4:13
...until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
We see steadfastness in this passage. The mark of maturity is steadfastness. Clinging to the doctrines proven, the "Old, Old Story", shying away from "every wind of doctrine". Being steadfast in our doctrine, rather than running to those who are aligned with the wisdom of this age, is maturity.
To be mature, be steadfast according to Scripture
5) Philippians 3:15
Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained.
- In what way does Paul want us to think?
- Look out for the dogs...the evildoers...those who seek righteousness by outward acts...
- count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord...
- not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law...
- having a righteousness which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith...
- do not consider that you have made it your own...
- forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead...
- press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus...
- join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.
What is this example that we are to imitate? Do not follow the wisdom of this age, keep your faith in Christ (not in your faith or in your works or in your own righteousness), submit to the authorities in your life, love one another.
To think in a mature way, read Paul and follow his example.
The sixth use of "mature" is in Colossians 1:28
Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ...
In order to understand this maturity, we must look back to the warnings and teachings of Paul (see the above points)...to think like Paul, imitate Paul, teach and worship like Paul.
To be presented as mature, heed the warnings and teachings of Paul.
Number 7 is found in Colossians 4:12
Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God.
Whether he is praying that the Colossians stand mature, or prays for the trials that make them mature, I don't know. What I do know is that mature Christian needs, wants and asks for the prayers of others.
Why would we not? If it is pride that keeps us from baring our struggles, turning aside that pride will bring maturity...ditto if it is shame that prevents us.
Prayers of other Christians help to bring us to maturity.
The eigth time "mature" appears is in Hebrews 5:14
But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.
Discernment is a mark of maturity; the ability to know/distinguish good from evil. How do we learn this? By being in the Word! By seeking the meat of the Word, digging deep, studying to show yourself approved.
To be mature, be trained with constant practice to know right from wrong.
The Greek word used for "mature" appears many more times, translated as different things...but this post is already long...