The Mental Marks of Maturity

images (1)Some people think maturity comes with age; however, being a certain age does not make you a wise old sage.  You really have no choice when it comes to aging; however, it takes some effort to wisely mature.

Growth of this kind is a common topic in the Bible:

  • Peter reminded Christians to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18).”
  • In what he thought would be his last communication with the elders from Ephesus, Paul said: “I commit you to God and to the message of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you an inheritance among all who are sanctified (Acts 20:32).”
  • Solomon offered this word of advice in the Proverbs: “You gullible people, learn how to be sensible. You fools, get a heart that has understanding (8:5).”

While I was reading in Philippians yesterday, I noticed something interesting.  Paul gives a clear indicator of maturity:  “Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.  Therefore, all who are mature should think this way (Philippians 3:13-15).”

According to this verse, you show signs of maturity when:

  • You are not bound by the chains of the past.
  • You choose to invest in the future
  • You pursue a relationship with Jesus.
  • You discipline yourself to control your thoughts so you can “think this way.”

I hope this mature thought from Paul will keep you thinking:

“Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.”

Philippians 4:8-9 ~The Message

Opportunity is a Port of Unity

opportunity tagsIt’s a verse that I think is intriguing, but not because it is full of mystery; not because it is difficult to understand; but, because it is so rich in meaning: “As we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith (Galatians 6:10).”

I saw something for the first time the last time I read this verse. It is the word “opportunity.” If you section the word, you can see it: OP-Port-Unity—Our Peace: Port of Unity

This is the opportunity that Paul spoke of when he wrote to the Ephesians and said: “Jesus is Our Peace (OP).” He was discussing the law and grace with Jews and Gentiles, and he said the peace of Jesus is the Port of Unity:

“But now in Christ Jesus, you who were far away have been brought near by the blood of the Messiah. For He is our peace, who made both groups one and tore down the dividing wall of hostility. In His flesh, He made of no effect the law consisting of commands and expressed in regulations, so that He might create in Himself one new man from the two, resulting in peace (Ephesians 2:13-15).”

Two chapters later, Paul emphasizes the importance of the peace we have in Jesus:

“I urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting one another in love, diligently keeping the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds us (Ephesians 2:2-4).”

Look at the Op-Port-Unity principles in Colossians 3:12-17:

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him”.

Instead of looking for what is wrong, use this week as a time of opportunity to focus on Jesus as Our Peace (OP) and to become a Port of Unity.

Are You Brusque, Pushy or Condescending?

pusypeopleYesterday, I posted in this blog about a principle from Philippians 2. Since then, my thoughts have centered on the word “condescending.” This is due in a large part to some work done by Nic Subtirelu, a linguist at Georgia State University.

The idea behind the word “condescending” is this:
• A person with authority is abusing his/her power
• A person has an attitude of superiority in the way he/she interacts with other people.

Jesus did not think He was superior to others—He knew it; yet He willingly humbled Himself. Through His actions and attitudes, Jesus paints a stark contrast in bold strokes and with the vivid colors of humility and service.

His humility is seen in Philippians 2: “Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage. Instead He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave.”

In a loving act of humility, Jesus “emptied” Himself. He laid aside all prestige and praise, and left the fragrance of heaven to be born in a stable thick with the pungent smell of dung.

This King of kings and Lord of lords was born, not to be served; but, to serve others. Alive in Him was the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Colossians 2:8-9); yet, He walked down the ladder of glory, so He could be hung up on a cross. This was no display of condescension—it was an act of redemption.

Condescending people are full of themselves, and deep down inside there is a gnawing emptiness. The redeemed are full of God, and deep within them is the knowledge Christ’s love. In which group are you?