Wednesday, October, 9, 2019 | 12:34 PM | by Munholland
We’ve all been told at one time or another to “grow up.” Who are we trying to become? What does a mature person look like? We are never fully arrived so that we can stop growing, but we can approximate what it means to become more ‘grown up’, more mature. Perhaps someone who is deliberate, who takes care of others out of their own inner strength, a person who is constantly growing as a person, someone who takes responsibility for themselves and others? A mature person invests in relationships, activities, learning, and discussions that are meaningful and purposeful. A mature person develops themselves so that they have something to offer and are useful to others. The key to maturity is a combination of having a vision of what maturity is and drawing on the sources that help you become that person.
Paul seeks to persuade the Christians in Ephesus – which could easily be in Metairie, Kenner, or New Orleans – to grow up. “grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love.” (Eph 4:15-16) Here are a couple quick thoughts on Paul’s wisdom.
First, we must take responsibility for ourselves to grow up. We need to individually grow to become mature, to organize our lives around Christ. We need to engage the practices that bring us into the presence of God and grow us in our understanding of God’s self-revelation. This is not a one-time deal or even a series of emotional times. It takes consistent effort in the same direction. Individually, we need to remind ourselves of who we are trying to become as mature Christians, and how we are going to put this into practice. Becoming a truly mature person – in any area of life – does not come about through wishful thinking or by accident. You and I already know the practices that will move us in the right direction, but we often don’t want to put in the effort and end up staying where we are or even moving backwards. Paul tells us to take responsibility. No one can do it for you. You must decide and act to bring it into being.
Second, we must take responsibility for each other. We are seeking maturity in the Kingdom together, which makes us responsible to help each other order our individual and corporate lives. Paul uses the metaphor of the body which has bones, muscles, and ligaments all working together to strengthen the whole. Who are you taking responsibility for? Who has God entrusted to you who needs to be encouraged and built up?
Finally, Jesus is the ‘head’ of the body who helps make all of this happen. ‘Head’ has two meanings. It carries on the metaphor of the body. Therefore, Jesus is the decision maker, director, organizer, and energizer that gets us working together to grow up. But ‘head’ also means source, like the source of a river. It is the originator of the life-giving water. It is the pure and clear headwaters. John describes the city of God in Revelation. In the center is the throne of God from which the river of life flows. Along it is the tree of life whose fruit and leaves are for the healing of the nations.
The sum of the matter is that maturity comes when we allow Jesus to give us direction and organize our lives. The source of what we need to become mature is the Source of Life Himself, the Head of the Living Water. You and I have been called to be effective agents in the Kingdom of God. That will only happen when we take responsibility for our growth in Christ and, therefore, can offer life to those around us. This is a high calling that God has placed upon us and the only way to live an abundant life.
Seeking His Kingdom,