Teaching others. Serving others. Understanding the gospel, understanding your own uselessness and the extent of your brokenness.
Why teaching? Is it possible to be mature and yet not teach?
And... how is Christian maturity different from... maturity? I don't think the two are completely different. But sometimes, you know, you just get older and wiser.
Yes it's possible to be mature and not teach, at least not formally. I think it's found in a knowledge of the Bible and fairly consistent application to life. We have Christians their 20s in our congregation who are more mature than some 70 year olds.
I agree, teaching is a specific gift not give to all.I think it is something you see in how they react in adversity too. That's when the facade often slips.2. The process to maturity is different for each Christian, God has a different curricula for each person.
I don't mean teaching in the "standing up the front" sense - I mean teaching in the older man/older women teach younger men/younger women sense...
Yes. I figured you meant that.
But what if there is no one to teach? If you can't teach (because of circumstance) you can't be mature?
Where is there no one to teach? I don't think "teaching" in Hebrews is exclusively linked to teaching believers.
I'm being a Devil's Advocate here a little bit. But from my perspective as a missionary, I can, for example, see mature believers coming to a non-English speaking country and not being able to teach because they don't understand the language or culture. I think of mature believers in some countries who are in jail in solitary confinement, or a mature believer who is disabled and unable to teach because of their physical limitations or someone who is too sick to teach.
Wendy, you are thinking about exceptional situations. It's probably best to think about what is more normal.Nathan - Hebrews certainly mentions teaching. Don't think anywhere else uses that word though in connection with xn maturity - though speaking the word is, doing all for the building of the body etc which is probably the same thing, depending on your def of teaching. Unity is a recurring theme in passages talking about xn maturity.
Nathan, could I presume to restate your position?I suspect that what Nathan is saying is that mature Christians, that is disciples of Christ, are inherently geared towards making more disciples of Christ (of those who are currently Christian and those who aren't) as they obey the great commission.It seems to me a fairly uncontroversial statement that one would expect a mature disciple of Christ to be a disciple-making disciple. It also seems to be what Nathan was getting at in his "older man/older woman teach younger man/younger woman" comment and his "not exclusive to teaching believers" comment.
@Kutz - sure. @Wendy - See Simone's comments - I'd say "a desire to teach" then, and while I'm not a fan of the "preach the gospel, when necessary use words" trope (because words are necessary) - I do think that what we do/how we live is part of teaching..@Simone - so it follows that I actually think your list of things that mature Christians do are all actually inextricably linked to the witness of the church. Partly because I think that worship, mission, and church are a pretty tight venn diagram - with "mission" the aspect of worship and church that will pass when the new creation comes, and when I've finished the series of essays I'm writing for college as variations on this theme, I'll post some of my more considered thoughts somewhere... though I don't think they're really anything new.
This post too old to contribute?Firstly, I reckon Michael's distinction is helpfully worth noting.Secondly, my crack at a description of Christian maturity is: a depth of understanding of, leaning on and praise for the gospel of Christ.Of course, without specifics it's a bit of a motherhood statement with little content. And if your definition of 'gospel of Christ' is wonky then my description will look really wonky. Still, I reckon it gets to the heart of it.
Christian maturity is (1) continued growth and (2) fruit. The mature Christian is the one who is continuing to grow in their knowledge of God and his Word - someone who knows their dependence upon God's grace and has a thirst to be fed. The immature Christian is the one who has either not grown yet in their faith and knowledge or has stopped desiring to do so. The mature Christian produces fruit - evidence of their continued connection to Christ. This may be seen in their use of gifts of service in the church, but also in their character (as in the fruits of the spirit etc). The immature Christian does not produce fruit - their vision is not on becoming more like Christ, they do not seek to use their gifts for the good of the body and they are satisfied with the status-quo without a thirst for any more.I've roughly formed this view based on Jesus description of himself as the vine: I am the vine, you are the branches. He that abides in me, and I in him, brings forth much fruit.
I like this. Thanks.
I like this more general definition, Deb.
I like Michael's point, and I think maturing is a process of expressing and actualising more of what you are. Maturing in Christ is laying down commitments, habits, knowledge that have Christ as their head (origin). I slightly disagree with Deb, I think, in that a committed Christian may be quite fruitful for a while without being mature - indeed, you may need to get over some low points to mature.I also like Richard Rohr's 2 halves of life stuff. The first half is the self-defining, achievement oriented growing years (most people's 0-40), and the second half is staying in grace while everything goes to pot (41-death), and there's nothing for it but to be humbled.
It's late, but I was away. FWIW, Rob Forsyth pointed out helpfully that Philippians defines it as a matter of trajectory - heading towards Christlikeness, rather than having 'arrived'.