Now mature, in my book does not mean the â€œchurchly,â€ those who have mastered the vocabulary and the litany of church life, who come alive only when the church doors open. Rather, I have in mind those who walk through all the corridors of the larger lifeâ€”the market-place, the home and community, the playing fieldsâ€”and do it in such a way that, sooner or later, it is concluded that Jesusâ€™ fingerprints are all over them…
A definition of a mature Christian is lacking. Best to say that you know a mature Christian when you see one. Theyâ€™re in the New Testament. Barnabas is one. Aquila and Priscilla are others. Onesiphorous impresses me. And so is the mother of Rufus of whom Paul said, â€œshe has been a mother to me.â€ Thatâ€™s a short list.
The marks of maturity? Self-sustaining in spiritual devotions. Wise in human relationships. Humble and serving. Comfortable and functional in the everyday world where people of faith can be in short supply. Substantial in conversation; prudent in acquisition; respectful in conflict; faithful in commitments.
Gordon suggests that Paul had the same problem in 1 Corinthians. Thus, Paul wrote, “I could not address you as spiritual but as worldlyâ€”mere infants in Christ.” (1 Cor 3:1)
Is he correct? Are today’s followers of Jesus Christ satisfied with being infants? Is there a difference between being “churchly” and being mature? Do you know mature believers, as Gordon McDonald describes them?
(Click this link if you are not familiar with Kid Nation.)