Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Philippians 3:15
Looking back thirty years to my high school pictures is always amusing. In doing so, I often find myself asking, What were you thinking? That mullet wasn’t a good fashion statement, but I thought it was a fantastic idea. There were those who told me it looked terrible and that I should cut it, but I was convinced, way past its prime, that it was a good look. It wasn’t.
I find myself doing this in other areas of life as well. At every stage in life, when I look back five or ten years, I find something immature about my past self. I thought I was grown up at that point and I thought I had things all figured out, but I didn’t. Now, looking back, I can see my immaturity, but at the time, I could not.
Paul spoke of maturity in today’s passage. In it, he said that the mature would adopt his view of the Christian life. What was that view? In the preceding verses, he explained how he had not yet arrived at perfection, but that he continually pressed on, daily abandoning the old life for the new one in Christ. Paul’s life, though he was a spiritual giant in our eyes, was one of continual transformation. Maturity understands that there is always new growth that needs to take place.
I often think of maturity as having arrived at a singular place of wisdom. I like to think I’m there and when that wisdom is challenged, my pride is wounded. It is my pride that prevents me from growing. I want my way to be right and I don’t want to admit that I could be wrong or that I may need to change. I’m going to do it my way. My way is right because I’m all grown up!
It is paradoxically, our pride that keeps us immature. It is our unwillingness to change and grow that reveals our foolishness. As Christians, we’re particularly prone to this. We can learn right doctrine at a young age. Then, because we believe all the right things, we imagine ourselves to be spiritual giants, more mature than everyone else because of our right knowledge. Paul suggested though, that this kind of arrogance is actually an impediment to our growth.
There are truths to which we can cling. It’s not that we can’t know anything. Maturity and wisdom though, apply that knowledge in humility, always remaining willing to learn, grow, and change. Pride clings to the past and keeps the mullet. Maturity gets a haircut and moves on.