Monday, February 16, 2009

Will The Real Mature Christian Please Stand Up?

"Am I growed up, Mommy?" asked my five year old daughter years ago. She stood before me all dolled up in makeup, gloves, hat, purse, strands of beads and one of my shawls. She had the attitude of Queen Elizabeth; nose to the sky, upturned chin, shoulders stiffened in utter sophistication. "Well, you surely have dressed the part, but maybe you have a little more to learn before I'll say you're a full fledged grown up," I answered her. "Umph! I am too growed up! Look at me!" she stomped her foot, put her hands on her hips and glared at me. That funny day and dozens of others are flooding my mind as I reflect back through 40 years of life with my only daughter. Yep, she celebrated the big 40 yesterday!!!

All growed up: maturity is my goal in life; especially Christian maturity. This is the 4th part of a series: F.I.R.M (flexible, innovative, robust, and mature) to overcome the world's F.U.D. (fear, uncertainty, and doubt).

As a child we huddled around the old black and white TV to watch "To Tell The Truth." The basic premise was simple: 3 contestants, each of whom claimed to be the same person, were interrogated by a panel of 4 celebrities in an attempt to identify who was the real one and who was bluffing. "Will the real ________ please stand up?" The real person stood up and the other two then revealed who they really were.

I yearn for a show like this to help me know who the "real" mature saints really are. Church leadership responsibilities have me praying for discernment as I enlist workers in our writing ministries. Recently one person volunteered and I had deja vue of my little girl all dressed up "acting" like a grown up, but lacking any of the substance of maturity. This person's insistence on the greatness they had to offer us was shocking. I thank God for this display of arrogance and pomp. This "in your face" demonstration of immaturity in Christianity has helped me know the marks of maturity we need for work with the ex offenders and inmate newsletter.

One thing I'm learning quickly is that inmates see through "phony" saints in 30 seconds or less. So I am pressed to seek mature men and women to work with me.

If I had a "To Tell The Truth" Christian maturity show how would I discern the real growed up saint?

I wait on your comments. Tomorrow I'll answer with what God is showing me and I'm learning the hard way: trial and error.

How do you discern spiritual maturity in others and yourself?

Here's a clue to help you: "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. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages of our glorification" (1 Cor. 2:6,7).


Scott said...

Speaking on maturity, I was put in my place this past week. I really thought I was more mature than I was. No, I didn't think I had the keys to all the answers that Christians need to hear, but I did think I was more than I am. You can read about it Here.

I think God used this situation to tell me that I am not hardly mature enough to do all that I think I can do, but I am mature enough to think about the situation, learn from it, and be better prepared the next time.

I guess that is my most recent "trial and error" but to answer your question, I'm not sure I can discern spiritual maturity in others. Or maybe it's that I don't try. Something I will think about today. I may come back with my answer to the question you asked.

Laura Capell said...

I remember your words to me a few years ago, "Strive to be unoffendable". That quality is just one of a mature Christian. Those words dance through my thoughts often in my work. People that are hurting often offend others with their actions, their words and their attitudes and they also seem to get offended by the silliest things. However, I too have been offended easily at times...times when I have felt unusually vulnerable, not in control, etc.

Jesus is the ultimate picture of "unoffendability" here. He reminds of what He went through and endured when I get offended.

Love to you...

Chatty Kelly said...

Jesus said we'll know them by their fruit. Look at what their life is producing.

The problem is we are all sinners, saved by grace. So we'll all have some rotten fruit from time to time. The question is are we characterized by fresh fruit with an occasional rotten piece; or by rotten fruit with only the occasional fresh piece?

Marilyn in Mississippi said...

Happy birthday to your daughter! Our only daughter was 32 last week. Where did all the years go???
I used to love to watch To Tell the Truth when I was a kid. Had forgotten all about it until you mentioned it. I like how you tied it to your work with the inmates. I would love to hear more about that.

God bless you Kay!


sailorcross said...

Hi Kay!!

Hmmmm....maturity. Do we ever reach the full state of maturity? I'm thinking that I'll never be fully mature--that I'm always learning and growing.

But,you are so right. Sometimes things and people are not as they portray themselves to be.

I would think (like the example you shared) that someone who is doing the "Look at me, look at ALL I do" attitude is spiritually immature.

Maturity (just my own thinking) can be seen in the person's face and demeanor. Are they calm during a storm, relying on Jesus to take the rudder of the boat during this storm? Is true joy reflected in their lives,their attitude, their daily work (yes, even the laundry can be joyful--I used to totally dislike this until I realized--be thankful that you have clothing to wash and a washer and dryer to use--some don't!).

Always a learning and growing process, but I can imagine that dealing with the prison population, they can sort out a "phony" quite easily.

Missed you, and I'll soon be settled and back regularly!!


Dorothy Champagne said...

Maturity could be labeled as self-control. The ability to stop and assess a situation before acting on it. The knowledge that God will always have the correct answer, so before heading into anything, ask Him what to do before you take action. The fact of life is sometimes things happen to us so quickly that we don't have time to stop and dwell and seek God - this is where, if you have spent the time in His word and daily seeking Him, He guides you through it.

© 2008 Kay Martin

Thrive In Christ

Who I Am In Christ by Neil Anderson

For several months we will center on this book to pursue Thriving in our Christian journey.

Neil challenges us with: "Do you know who you are in God's eyes? We are no longer products of our past. We are primarily products of Christ's work on the cross. Who we are determines what we do.

You are not who you are in Christ because of the things you have done, you are in Christ because of what He has done. He died and rose again so that you and I could live in the FREEDOM of His love."

That's just the introduction. More to follow.