Paul said, “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways” (I Cor. 13:11). The implication is that there is a certain type of behavior that is appropriate for children, but not for adults. Children need to be told to pick up their toys and reminded to finish the task. Adult behavior is characterized by assuming responsibility (decisiveness) and following through (faithfulness) on commitments. And Christian adult behavior has an added dimension of spiritual maturity — a continual longing to grow into the image of Christ (I Tim. 4:12, 15), which involves consideration for the interest of others (Phil. 2:4-5; Matt. 20:26-28) and a desire to fruitfully steward one’s gifts (Matt. 25:14-30).
Maturity is an elusive concept. How do we know if we have it? And what does it look like if we don’t have it? (While women struggle with immaturity as well, I’m going to write to young men out of my own experience. I invite women to read along and encourage their friends.)
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