God desires to make disciples, not just converts; what do mature disciples look like?
Do you and those around you have any personal expectation of maturing in Christ beyond the first steps in their faith?
Christian maturity is not a pipe dream. There is a tangible reality when we encounter it. Some people do learn and mature and take on a life that bears “a family resemblance” to Jesus and his way of life; people who forgive and persevere and exercise courage and grace.
However, many Christians have no clear direction, or even more tragically, no personal expectation of maturing in Christ beyond first steps in the faith. In their minds the gospel goes only as far as fire insurance to get them into heaven when they die; it speaks only vaguely of kingdom living in the here and now.
For a variety of reasons, many churches and long-standing Christians find themselves uncomfortable with the question of maturity and leave it ambiguously defined or even unanswered. There is an unreality for them to this whole conversation of the gospel’s power to change lives—it is simply not their first-hand experience. It does seem that we all face the temptation at one point or another on our journey, to settle for a faith of borrowed convictions and second-hand experiences.
If we are to become good developers of others, if we are to become churches that faithfully mentor people into a life of apprenticeship with Jesus, then we are going to need to think more clearly about a life of growing toward Christian maturity.
- What was Jesus envisioning when he said he came that we might “have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10)?
- What kind of life might the Apostle Paul have been conceiving of when he said that all his efforts were “so that we may present everyone mature in Christ” (Colossians 1:28)?
- What do mature Christians look like? And where might the Spirit be inviting me to grow toward this vision?
By asking these questions, we are not suggesting we can pull back the veil and see everything God is doing or desires to do in a person’s life; that would be hubris and a denial of the mystery of God’s salvation in our lives and the world. Admittedly, there is so much we do not understand.
What we are saying, though, is that the Scriptures, church history, and perhaps even our experience to a degree, have much to say about God’s life-shaping purposes and realities in peoples’ lives. It is not all a fog; there is much wisdom.
Our deep conviction at VantagePoint3 is that God wants people to grow up into maturity in Christ. The Journey process is a path you can walk to humbly provide presence, perspective, and guidance to people’s faith journeys. It will help you–and those you lead and mentor–pay attention, explore, and discern the presence and purposes of the Spirit in their everyday lives.
Join us for a Journey Online Facilitator Training on March 10 and prepare yourself to lead a group of adults who you know are ready for a next step, who are perhaps stuck or restless, looking for direction in their faith journey—toward growing up into Christ in every way (Ephesians 4:15).
You stir us to take pleasure in praising you, because you have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.
Augustine, Confessions, Book I, I (1)