Grandma and Grandson measuring height.

How Mature Are You?

“Who do you want to be when you grow up?” I used to ask our kids. I liked to hear all the ideas. Their aspirations swung wildly. Everything had its season, from astronaut on Mars, to archeologist digging up dinosaurs.  

Who do you want to be when you grow up?

Oh, so you think you are already grown up? 

Hmmmmm. Maybe. Maybe not. 

“Ok, Back up,” I told our oldest daughter when she was about five. I guided her backwards against the basement wall where penciled lines marked her growth. A new line topped the old one, and we stood back and marveled at it. Our family moved too often for much consistency, but that little mark measured against itself wherever we were, always brought with it a measure of joy. 

Growing up implies a lot more than just physical growth, doesn’t it? Unfortunately,  sometimes I relate more to the two-year-old splat on the floor in full tantrum, than with the stately tall put-together adult. 

Paul, in jail for his faith in Christ, addresses grownups whose spiritual walk remains childish. (Ephesians 4) His description matches the kind of immaturity children display, the type we need to back up to and measure against in our own lives. 

He pictures one tossed back and forth “by the waves.” Someone who allows himself or herself to be “carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.” (Ephesians 4:13-15 ESV)

I find our context today much like Paul’s when he wrote the church in Ephesus. We too ride the waves of popular writers, teachers, or preachers. We like the Ephesians, accumulate ideas, trends, and thoughts, put them into, as it were a bottle, shake it up and pour it out. 

Sometimes the church avoids unadulterated truth for fear of becoming divisive. Members of Christ’s body, may fear being accused of offensive speech, bludgeoning, or judging. 

Paul proclaims that people divide but truth unites. 

A steady hold on God’s truth characterizes a growing-up follower of Christ. 

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, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. (Ephesians 4:13-14 ESV)

Little children are easily carried by one thought or another. Spiritually mature believers don’t drift upon agitated currents which draw them into a sea of non-anchored rational. Paul proclaims that people divide but truth unites Share on X

Paul challenges us to grow up as unified mature individuals who know God’s Word better and more deeply than we know the views of the latest influencers. 

We enjoy a plethora of enthusiastic information in our Christian culture. But, all the wealth of thought and instruction sometimes births a false sense of spiritual growth, and we begin to interpret Scripture through the latest teachings rather than evaluating what’s being taught through the lens of God’s Word. 

In the Bible we find the footing for honest, stable and loving growth.

There we find the steadfastness that keeps us from tipping into the Christian wave’s latest fad, or dipping into the deception which the world around us proclaims. As we grow in the grace and knowledge of God’s Word we become unified, not divided. (Ephesians 4:7)

 “Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.” (Ephesians 4:15 ESV) 

If this verse designated your measured mark on the wall of your spiritual growth, how would your line measure? Would it be heading north, staying the same, or tending southward? 

So, maybe we aren’t quite as grown-up as we’d thought. Maybe there is still some room to grow. May it continue, anchored in Christ. 


*Feature photo by Philip Schroeder

12 Replies

  1. Don Pahl Reply

    Your thoughts are right on, Sylvia. Increased biblical illiteracy results in increased immaturity. Conversely, growth in biblical understanding AND application defines a growing spiritual maturity.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thanks Don. I am grateful for pastors of the Word, like you who keep on shepherding people to Biblical literacy and application.

  2. Ron Gallagher Reply

    Loved the way you handled this, Sylvia. I’ve often said that immaturity is one of the most damaging and debilitating conditions that Christians have. While imiturity isn’t specifically identified as a sin, it opens pathways for all kinds of self-centered, impulse driven behaviors and attitudes. All of us need to back up against the wall regularly and check on our spiritual progress. Thanks for the timely admonishion.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Ron, I appreciate so very much your wise words. How well God’s Word strengthens and equips us to discern and avoid those pathways. I suppose like everyone, I find spiritual growth spurts and plateaus. There is a definite steady growth when I am a very consistent student of the Word, and I feel so grateful for how the Lord instructs daily. Such a privilege!

  3. Bob Strong Reply

    Good writing, Sylvia! I believe the phone has largely supplanted reading today. No one has time to open the Word daily, as we’ve become to depend on the phone for just about everything! Constant checking for “likes”, emails, news, weather, etc., etc. I doubt it’s going to get much better. Results? Churches full of illiterates. So sad.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thanks so much Bob for your insights. We are people prone to distractions and often laziness when it comes to God’s Word, aren’t we. But how rich it is to take the time and keep learning! It’s so good to hear from you!

  4. Katherine Pasour Reply

    I’m thankful that our patient and loving Father is willing to keep working on me. Every time I think I’m approaching the “mature” Christian status, I do something very un-Christ-like. Of course, that’s what I get for even thinking I might be a mature Christian. But the good news is, I’ve come a long way, and I’m grateful for God’s grace. Thank you, Sylvia.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Oh my Katherine. He is indeed patient and loving with me as well. So very grateful for His grace. Thanks so much for reading and responding! Blessings!

  5. J.D. Wininger Reply

    Several thoughts about this Ms. Sylvia. One was that I’m not sure I’ll ever consider myself “grown up” in Christ, but I sure hope , like those marks on your basement wall, my growth can be measured with each passing year.

    • sylvia schroeder Reply

      I love your comment! I too hope that my growth is steady with each passing year. Thanks J.D.

  6. Nancy E. Head Reply

    Remember when schools taught the Golden Rule? We were discussing that at school today. How much difference would it make today if we just started there…

    And built on that?