Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
GROWING INTO THE MATURITY OF CHRIST
He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. (Colossians 1:28)Christianity is about life transformation. It is God’s purpose to transform our life world into God’s kingdom. For that we should become more mature in our faith, more like Christ in our being. The epistle to Colossians
states the purpose of our Christian life. Clearly, Paul’s purpose is to “present everyone mature in Christ.”
Meaning of Growing into Maturity
What is Paul talking about? When we become a believer we become a new creation in Christ, but we are not perfect yet. We begin a process of growing more and more to become like Christ. There is a beginning and there is an end and we are on a journey or pilgrimage between these two points. The church uses several different words to describe this process of becoming like Christ: discipleship, sanctification, mentoring, growing into maturity. Ruth Haley Barton writes that transformation “…is an organic process that goes far beyond mere behavioral tweaks to work deep, fundamental changes at the very core of our being”. In the process of transformation the Spirit of God moves us from selfishness and self-absorption to freely offering the gifts of the authentic self; from the ego’s desperate attempts to control the outcomes of our lives to an ability to give ourselves over to the will of God, which is often the foolishness of the world.
Ways and Means of Growing into Maturity
Growing into maturity is a matter of taking the Word deep into our hearts and personally encountering all the wisdom of God. The word of God is similar to food. Food is essential for our physical growth and nourishment but it has to be taken into our mouth, chewed, swallowed, and digested to be effective. The same thing is true with the Word of God. We must take the word of God and the wisdom of Jesus deep within our hearts so that it will have its effect As James says, we must receive the word implanted so that we become doers of the word and not hearers only.
Growing into mature men and women is a life-long process. The journey is a marathon, not a sprint. There are no quick fixes. And so we keep moving towards the greater purpose of maturing like Christ. Our journey will take us through many different seasons in life – good times and bad, suffering and celebration, endings and beginnings As a community of disciples and followers of Jesus, the purpose for each person and for us is to corporately grow in maturity and be formed in Christ.
Prayer: Lord, help us to understand thy word diligently and to grow into the wisdom of Jesus deep within our hearts and thereby attain Christian maturity. Amen
Rev. Ansan Thomas, Melbourne, Australia.