What is maturity as a Christian? How do you know when you’re on the right track, growing in your faith and practice of Scriptural principles? Following are 2 essential traits:
Devotion to God and His Word
Did you know that you can be a lover of good works but not of God? You can love doing ministry more than you love the Father Himself. You can love people more than their maker. We can busy ourselves with doing good, doing ministry in church, spending time with people. We can devote so much time and affection on these and neglect the One by whom and for whom all things exist. That is why the Lord Jesus Christ took time to remind us of the greatest commandment there is: to love God with a whole heart, soul, and mind. (Matthew 22:37)
To be devoted is to be loyal to a person, thing, or cause. It is to be given over to someone or something. To love intensely is to love devotedly. To be devoted to God is to keep Him in your thoughts at all times. It is to converse with Him as your day unfolds. That is how we pray unceasingly, when we include Him in our day to day affairs and when we welcome His presence in the big and small happenings of our lives.
To be devoted to His Word is to discipline ourselves to the opening of Scriptures on a daily basis for that is how He can speak more clearly to us. It is quite impossible to love someone so dearly yet feel alright not talking to that person regularly especially when you have opportunity to do so. Indeed, God can and does reveal Himself in many miraculous ways. But He has given us the Written Word to be our constant and ready access to His plans and desires for our lives.
Peace with Others
A quarrelsome person cannot be mature; so is one who harbors resentment and bitterness in the heart. When offenses are heavy, it takes great maturity to forgive and to not hold anything against the offender. Victims of criminal offenses know this by experience. Though hard, it is doable. We’ve heard news of Christian parents forgiving criminals of murder and other crimes. The story of Mary Johnson is one of many that testify to how God can mature a yielded person, enabling him or her to rise above situations and defy the expectations of society. Mary Johnson’s only child, Laramiun was murdered at 20 years old. After a number of years, she decided to get in touch with her son’s murderer and nurture a reconciliatory relationship with him. When the killer left prison, she even arranged for the person to live next door to the place she was residing in. Changed by this act of goodness, the man has taken positive steps in life, putting himself to school while working at the same time.
Colossians 3:13 tells us to bear with one another and to forgive others, understanding how greatly God has forgiven us. Romans 12:18 tells us to fulfill our part in living at peace with others. We have no control over the actions and attitudes of others but we have full control over our thoughts and responses. Scriptures assure us that the greater blessing lies in forgiving and blessing others. This of course does not ever mean consenting to wrong nor allowing yourself to be deceived over and over again for the Bible specifically teaches us to withdraw ourselves from evildoers and constant offenders.