I have wanted to have this discussion for awhile. I was just not sure how to start it, if you know what I mean. So I am going to attempt to explain myself.
Maturity by definition means-“Ripe; perfected by time or natural growth; as a man of mature age. We apply it to a young man of mature age. We apply it to a young man who has arrived to the age when he is supposed to be competent to manage his own concerns; to a young woman who is fit to be married; and to elderly men who have much experience.” Noah Webster 1828 Dictionary
“Competent to manage his own concerns”. Hmm, interesting; let’s see what Competent means. By definition it means-“Suitable; fit; hence, sufficient, that is, fit for the purpose; adequate.” Noah Webster 1828 Dictionary
Now that we understand what we are talking about I will lay out the complete topic of today. The difference between spiritual maturity and worldly maturity, after which I would like to explain how you know if you are mature.
The first thing I must stress is that you must choose to be mature and that it is something that is learned not instantly gained. Trust me, I know; it has been a long road.
Now, the worldly maturity is by the definition above Suitable to manage his/her own concerns. Basically that they can make their own decisions without any help, usually accepting the consequences with grace. Doesn’t always happen right! That is when we get into Spiritual maturity. Spiritual maturity comes in when we have not just accepted Jesus as our savior but have also decided to walk the walk God has laid out for us. In time becoming more and more like him. We then start to build our character and our moral thought process. One where you love your enemies, you don’t envy anyone or want what someone else has. Your focus is on Christ who gives you peace. So that when something doesn’t go how your flesh would want it to go your so focused on God that you just accept the consequence knowing it is your fault. Now, there is a worldly maturity that can look like this. This is when one takes on the fact that the consequence comes from their choice and they just walk in it.
Some of you may be thinking that consequences are a bad thing. No, they are just the result of a decision. Cooking dinner (the choice) creates dirty dishes that you now have to clean (the consequence). I give the cashier the money she asks for (the choice) then I get to walk out of the store with the groceries I want without someone chasing me (the consequence).
Now, just because you are older than 18 does not mean you are mature. You may be legally an adult but that does not mean you are mature enough to make the right decision. Hence alcohol is withheld until you are 21.
“How do I tell that I am mature?” Good question, the first step to knowing whether you are mature or not is not easy and there is more to it, but let’s see if you can answer these questions.
Can you make your own decisions and accept the consequences gracefully? If you cannot answer this with a solid yes then no, you are not mature yet.
Next question, If you know you do not handle certain things well, do you try to handle things better or do you continue on with your life handling things bad? These could be things like how you treat a family member, how you act when you do not get your way, how you handle something out of your control. If you continue to not better yourself or hesitate on whether you better yourself like asking “what does that even look like?” then the answer is, No you are not yet mature.
Okay, next question. When having a discussion with someone and you disagree with their thought process do you argue or do you let them believe what they believe and still treat them well after that conversation? If the answer is no, I treat them rudely and them dump them as a friend or any other answer that is different then you letting them believe what they believe while you still being nice then no, you are not yet mature.
Why do I keep saying, “Not yet mature” instead of you are not mature? Well, that is because I believe that you can change that and be very mature. As a matter of fact I have full faith that you can be mature. But you have to make that choice, it is a mindset. How do I become mature you ask, start with changing whichever of the questions you got no on to yes. For instance, if you have conversations with people and do not agree on their view point, it is okay to explain why you think the way you think. But arguing is never the answer and people respect individuals that let them have their own way of thinking. If you do not know how to better yourself then start with thinking about what you do not like about other people and then make sure you do not do it yourself. Do you see where I am going with this. There are always opportunities to better yourself. Like facing fears or learning something new.
There is a whole lot more to being mature than just the few examples I gave you and I hope to discuss it more. But if you can not say yes to all of the questions above then I cannot give you more information. You will get overwhelmed. One of the biggest things about being mature is growing as a person, in how you handle things, respond to people, the way you think and even the way you act. Being mature is a life style that many people are not willing to try. I hope you do. I will be waiting to hear stories of your success. Good luck dear friends!