Maturity In Christ

“Brethren, be not children in your understanding; howbeit in malice be ye
children, but in understanding be men” (1 Corinthians 14:20). Paul’s admo-
nition proceeds his discussion of the necessity of various spiritual gifts. They
were not all to seek the miraculous gift of speaking in tongues. They needed
to be mature in order to understand the role God had given to all of His mi-
raculous gifts. Only through maturity would they realize that God purposed
all spiritual gifts for the ultimate edification of the body of Christ.

Maturity is still sorely needed today. Many problems arise in congregations
because of a lack of maturity. Some problems arise because of a lack of
doctrinal maturity. Some brethren simply do not know the scriptures and
apostasy is the result. The struggles over institutionalism or divorce and
remarriage illustrate this point. On the other hand, some problems arise be-
cause of a lack of mental maturity. Some brethren get their feelings hurt or
some matter does not go their way so they pull away from everyone else
and refuse to take any further part in the work of the church.

Both types of immaturity are wrong. Those who are mature are so because
they have their senses trained through long use and habit of study to discern
between right doctrine and erroneous doctrine (Hebrews 5:14). They will
not be led astray by a “strong delusion” delivered by a well-known or elo-
quent preacher (2 Thessalonians 2:11).

Jesus said concerning mental immaturity, “Moreover if thy brother shall tres-
pass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if
he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear
thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three
witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear
them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be
unto thee as an heathen man and a publican” (Matthew 18:15-17). Clearly
the burden is upon those who have a difficulty with others to resolve the
problem. This is often not done primarily because the ones who have the
problem know they are being childish in the first place! The only way for the
church to grow is to have members who are mature both in doctrine and in