We are getting older! Everyone of us reading this is aging. You can’t stop it, can’t postpone it. No amount of vitamins will prevent you from getting older. Taking care of yourself mentally, physically and spiritually will definitely improve the quality of your life but it won’t stop the inexorable march of time.
The nonsense often spoken goes like this: “With age comes wisdom.” Here’s another old adage: “There’s no fool like an old fool.” It appears there are some old fools out there. Maturity in character and soul does not necessarily come with age.
We all receive some scars as we go through life. No one matures without unpleasant, difficult and hurtful experiences. Yes, there is the grace of God, but no amount of the grace of God will prevent you from experiencing the results of living in this fallen world. Nor will it prevent our bad decisions that often bring on unnecessary trouble.
If you hope to mature gracefully and grow in God, keep the following in mind:
1. Mature people are able to keep long-term relationships
Philippians 2:5 NIV says this: “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus…”
Some relationships need to go when they become destructive to your life, and actually all long term relationship will have some difficulties. But keeping difficult relationships (unless abusive) is exactly what brings on maturity. Abandoning someone just because they require extra grace will not bring maturity.
2. Mature people don’t care either about flattery nor criticism
Luke 6:37 TLB says, “Never criticize or condemn – or it will all come back on you. Go easy on others; then they will do the same for you.”
If you are going to crawl under a rock every time someone speaks unkindly to you or criticizes you, you’re going to spend a lot of time hiding under the rock. We are not always right. Every word coming out of our mouth is not brilliant. There can be a river of foolishness between the drops of wisdom we speak. Pay attention to criticism, consider it, listen to it and evaluate its truth. Then adjust if necessary and let it go. Flattery only feeds the ego. It doesn’t build self-esteem. Sincere compliments for work well done do.
3. Mature people are humble
Philippians 2:3 TLB says, “Don’t be selfish; don’t live to make a good impression on others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourself…”
They’ve been knocked down a time or two. A few bumps and bruises keep us in touch with reality. Pressing through a failure helps us keep a right perspective in life. Getting up after being knocked down makes us sympathetic to the struggles of others. Some of the most gracious people I know have had very difficult lives.
4. Mature people don’t live by emotions
Psalm 25:12 TLB says, “Where is the man who fears the Lord? God will teach him how to choose the best…”
Mature people make decisions but emotion is never the basis. “Gut feeling” is not a mature thing – good decision-making must be learned. Maturity means we decide actions based on what is right, just, and honest. In fact, mature people know that doing the right thing does not always feel good now, but it will feel good later. Sometimes there are things we are asked to do or need to do, but we don’t want to do them. That’s all of us. Mature people do it anyway.
5. Mature people are grateful and joyful
Psalm 7:17 TLB says, “Oh, how grateful and thankful I am to the Lord because He is so good. I will sing praise to the name of the Lord who is above all lords.”
We should mature by being thankful for all the people who have ever touched our our lives. Thankful for the things we’ve learned through good and bad experiences. Thankful for every little kindness in life. That’s actually Biblical – “In everything give thanks for this is the will of God.” (Ephesians 5:20) Maturity is demonstrated by a thankful heart, showing thankful words and affirming actions to others. For the mature, it’s never about themselves alone.
6. Mature people always get good advice
Proverbs 11:14 NLT says, “Without wise leadership, a nation is in trouble; but with good counsellors there is safety.”
Mature people look for wisdom in others- that perfect mix of experience, information and healthy objectives. There are many ways to solve the same problem. The way of wisdom may not always be the easy way. “In the multitude of counsellors there is safety,” the Bible says. You don’t want to just go around and ask 100 people what they think. That will give you 100 opinions. You want wise people, experienced people, tough people to speak into your life. People who have been through a lot and yet possess joy are the right kind of people to seek out. They know the secret.
7. Mature people are not looking for the easy way out
2 Timothy 2:3 NLT says, “Take your share of suffering as a good soldier of Jesus Christ, just as I do…”
Paul never said, “I want out! I can’t stand this anymore!” Life is no easier for the mature than for the immature; it’s just that the mature have more common sense. They want to get out of painful or difficult situations just like everyone else. Who among us is looking for trouble? Who says, “I can hardly wait for the next crisis!” Nobody. But maturity doesn’t look for escape except by doing the right thing. They know that when you do the right thing, you’ll get out without negative backlash.
In conclusion, I have observed that not all of us mature as we grow older. I’ve met a few 16 year olds in 60 year old bodies. I’ve also met some wise and mature young people. Character driven choices will always add maturity to your life. Emotionally driven decisions will only reinforce immaturity in your life.
Let’s choose to set a path to grow and mature by submitting to God and His word and the truth which can set us free.