“Seeking Maturity (vi)”


               Another sign of spiritual maturity, according to God’s Word, is a forward look – a futuristic orientation.  In Philippians chapter 3, Paul writes some of his most well-known lines as he tries to encourage these brothers and sisters:


               Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.  Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.  Only let us hold true to what we have attained.  Philippians 3:12-16


               I have highlighted the words in this passage that come from our focus word.  Notice in the first verse it is translated one way (“perfect”), and in the other another way (“mature”).  Both come from the same Greek root. 

               This is Paul’s great statement about pushing ahead, not being dragged down by what is in the past, in fact exerting great effort to move forward into the call of God in Christ.  Here is what may at first seem a paradoxical statement:  a sign of maturity is realizing you are not yet fully mature.  If one thinks they are fully mature, they have stalled spiritually, they have nothing more to learn, no more to achieve.

               In fact, it is impossible to reach full maturity this side of heaven.  Only in Christ in the presence of God will we be made perfect for all time.  So as long as we have breath, as long as we are bound by time and this earth, we are to be in a growth mode – striving, straining ahead, pushing forward toward God’s call, learning, achieving, trying and yes even sometimes failing, getting up and dusting ourselves off and setting forth on the path behind Jesus once again.  This is the best of spiritual maturity in this world, and it is enough.

               Let those of us who are mature think this way.