Many families have walls where children stand to be measured. Usually Daddy or big brother have made a mark so high the toddlers can hardly see it, but they eagerly lean up against that wall to check their progress.
Paul told the Ephesians we are to measure our height against the height of our Big Brother. Until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, Eph 4:13. Why aren’t we as eager as children to stand up against that wall and measure our progress?
I have a feeling it has something to do with giving up before we even start. “I can’t be like Jesus. I’m not perfect,” escapes so many mouths it’s no wonder we never even chase after that perfection. Why try when we have such a defeatist attitude? And since I don’t try, I certainly do not want to stand there and be measured—I know I haven’t grown an inch! Yet Paul makes it plain that we are expected to grow up, to become spiritually mature. Epaphras…greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God, Col 4:12. You cannot excuse yourself and hope to please God.
The last study I wrote for my women’s class was Growing to Spiritual Maturity. We covered as many aspects of maturity as we could think of—perspective, knowledge/wisdom, steadfastness, diligence, modesty, humility, self-control, respect and consideration for others, integrity, dependence upon God, tolerance, and striving for peace rather than squabbling all the time. We scoured the gospels for the example our Big Brother set for us, and yes, we found ourselves seriously lacking in a lot of places. So what do we do, simply sit back and sigh wistfully for the unattainable?
No, we made plans, specific plans, how to overcome the deficits we saw in our character. We listed, not only such obvious helps as seeking advice, praying, and studying the scriptures, but also specific behavior changes we could make to grow in the areas in which we found ourselves lacking. We realize we will never be a perfect example of a mature Christian, but we can now eagerly approach that wall and measure ourselves to see how far we have come. Maybe just an inch this year, but maybe we will have a growth spurt soon and grow six inches in one year. It will never happen though as long as we avoid that wall, as long as we not only refuse to be measured, but do not even try to improve because we have already given up.
You see, that is another aspect of maturity. Real men (and women) don’t quit. They don’t give up just because the task is difficult. They make up their minds they will do the impossible, and then they do it. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me, Col 1:28,29.