What does it mean to be mature? This is a question that has come up in my mind this week, and it’s one that has been left slightly unanswered and vague since the question first came into my head years ago. I can remember as a 5th grader hearing a fellow classmate of mine tell a boy who was quite rowdy and rambunctious to “stop acting so immature.” Have you ever heard that phrase before? “Why don’t you act your age?” “Be more mature!” All of these and more are statements that are thought and uttered by 5th graders and adults alike. So, what does it mean to be immature? Or to be mature?
As I looked up several definitions of “maturity,” I came across a holistic understanding of it to be something that is complete, or final, or when something reaches its full development or potential. This is something not based entirely on age, or experience, or education. Maturity is not just something that is physical, but it is also emotional and spiritual as well.
There are numerous places in the New Testament where the Biblical writers discuss spiritual maturity. As we prepare for this coming Sunday, in the continuation of our “Today” series, we find another example of this in Hebrews chapters 5-6. This Scriptural call to maturity is a call to perfection, to completion, to a fullness that if we’re honest is unattainable for us alone. That is what sets the Biblical call to maturity apart from how many of us view it and experience it in our society today. The Biblical call to maturity is one that relies on a dependence upon Christ. It is a journey of perseverance, of being daily renewed in the Word, of being regularly connected with what Christ is doing in and among our lives. A Biblical call to maturity is not one that results in self-reliance, self-fulfillment, or self-confidence. Rather, a Biblical call to maturity is to realize that we are utterly and completely reliant, filled up, and overflowing with the confidence given to us through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is when we realize His greatness in the scope of our lives that a mature perspective takes place. May it be our prayer that we would each grow and mature into the fullness of Christ. That is His desire for us, and He promises to help us along the way.
We are busy people, we are a society on the go, we are going, going, going…we are also tired people. Have you ever felt tired? It’s a silly question because many, if not all of you, are probably feeling pretty tired right now as you’re reading this. Even still, when we feel tired, exhausted, in need of sleep, a break, and some much-needed rest, what are our options? What do we do? We can slow down, take some time off or away from what is keeping us on the move, we can take a vacation, but many times we keep pushing through and moving forward. We can do this for a variety of different reasons. One that comes to mind for me is that I don’t want to come off as weak or appear as though I don’t have the ability, willpower, mentality, or necessary stamina to push through or to keep on keeping on. It is this type of thinking that can affect or impact each of us to one degree or another. The approval or disapproval of others, our own stubbornness, and our desire to come off as competent, tough, self-sustaining, and self-efficient can lead us into areas where we are completely wiped out and need rest.
Maybe you can resonate or relate with this or maybe you can resonate or relate to feeling tired. One way that we try to make up for this is to construct and re-create the wheel when it comes to finding rest. Some of us sleep in, some of us take naps, some of us go to bed early, we try numerous things just to get and feel rested. But do you notice how many of those ways don’t often pan out like we would like them to? For example, if you can remember the last time you slept in…and I mean really slept in…you probably didn’t feel so rested later on in that day. Maybe you felt groggy or just out of it. You got all that “extra” sleep and it didn’t seem to do you any good. Our attempts at perfect rest, or at least trying to create a scenario for ourselves to get that perfect rest, seem to be a futile effort. We continue to be tired, we continue to need sleep, we continue to desire rest.
The good news for us today is that God desires to give us rest: ultimate and perfect rest. It is a rest that He Himself enjoys and wants to give to us to experience and live in. It is a rest for now and yet it is also a foretaste of the rest we will experience someday with Him in heaven. As we look at Hebrews 4 this week, the writer goes to great lengths to remind us of this truth and promise that we can find perfect rest in God through what Jesus has done for us. In Hebrews 4:9-10, we read this: There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. The rest that God desires to share with us and give to us is a rest that allows us the peace we need to also rest from the worries, pressures, and stresses that overtake us daily. It is a rest that perfectly encapsulates the life and freedom that He has in store for us. It is a rest that gives us peace and confidence in our Savior and our future. Don’t you want a rest like that? It is there for the taking. It is waiting to be given. It is waiting for you.
Pastor Ben Bigaouette