Colossians Devotional | Mature in Christ
Colossians: Christ Above and Before All
The Glory of God Revealed in Jesus
Mature in Christ
“24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, 25 of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, 26 the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. 27 To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. 29 For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.” - (Colossians 1:24-29)
Paul wants to present Christians before God and the world as “mature.” That should be our aim, as well.
What does it mean to be “mature?” Well, Paul uses a Greek word here: τέλειος. Don’t worry, I’ll translate. It’s “teleios,” meaning “perfect,” “complete,” or “having reached its end.” In Hebrews 5:13-14, Paul contrasts maturity with childishness, being a baby. It’s the difference between the strength, the wisdom, and the experience of a little child versus that of a grown man or woman.
Think about what you didn’t understand when you were six years old. What were you afraid of? What toys and shiny objects captivated your desires? How did you deal with conflict? How patient were you? How do these things compare with your thoughts and feelings now that you’re an adult?
Of course, you’re not as mature as you will hopefully be in the future. Nevertheless, you can say that you’re now mature in comparison to your childhood. How did you become that way?
By instruction. By trying things out. By failing. By being corrected. By experience.
A mature person--a mature Christian--now has discernment. They can spot the truth and lies readily. They’re not easily fooled. They can make decisions that are wise, think in the long term, and can understand how to empathize with others and forgive. They know how to teach and train others. They don’t have to know everything in the Bible, but they know how to open it and find it. They don’t pray perfectly, but they pray fervently. They still sin and make mistakes, but instead of panicking and making things worse, they know how to confess, repent, and be restored.
I share Paul’s aim: to become mature and to present you as mature, as well.
That means all of the things I just said above: to be trained, to be taught, to try, to fail, to be corrected...so on and so forth. To quote Paul from Hebrews 5: 14: “But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil” (my emphasis).
Do you truly care about becoming more and more mature in Christ? Can you point to any practices you’re committed to in your life in order to grow in Christian maturity?
I think I can confidently say this: no one drifts or accidentally stumbles into maturity. It is something you have to aim at and then purposefully pursue. What do you believe you need to do next in your Christian maturation? Who do you need to ask for help from? Pray over this and then commit to maturing.