12.1. Study Material

Précis:    To dispel the commonly thought error that maturity is directly proportional to chronological age; profile a well adjusted mature individual. 

Text: Ephesians 4:11-12


Human nature encompasses physical, psychological, social and spiritual qualities. A person may be physically grown and mentally well educated yet emotionally stunted. Immaturity is the leading cause for countless personal and interpersonal problems. Professional and business organizations suffer greater loss in productivity stemming from immaturity, than is caused by weather, sickness, machinery breakdown, office mismanagement or work stoppages. For this reason, many companies are turning to robotics. There are many advantages for this investment. A factory robot for example, never gets sick. It never asks for a coffee or lunch break. It never comes to work late; never suffers a hangover from happy-hour the night before; never goes on strike; never punches out another robot and it never runs off with another robot’s robot! Wherever you find conflict, you will discover that immaturity is at the bottom of the issue.

Who is a wise man and endowed with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace. (James 3:13-18)

… bitter envying and strife … is earthly, sensual, devilish.

Universal Dictionary defines maturity as; “The state or quality of being fully grown or fully developed”. Luke 2:52 states that Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man. This study is confined to emotional maturity. Its goal is to identify the characteristics of maturity and help people achieve a higher level of maturity. 

Discipline plays a significant role in child rearing.  A child that has everything given to him, everything done for him and nothing required of him is indeed a deprived child. In a similar way, God often used the discipline of stress to build character. This is the import of Hebrews 12:5-14

… “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.” Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons… No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. 


Lesson:                The Profile Of A Mature Person 

24.1  The Need For Maturity

1.  Childish Behavior – nay’-pee-os  (Gal. 4:1-3)  Bondage to world

2.  Childish Development – nay’-pee-os (Heb. 5:11-13) immature Christian

24.2  Characteristics Of Maturity

1.  Adaptability   vs. Inflexibility / rigidity

– Contentment in trying circumstances (Phil. 4:11-13)

– Does not give in to discouragement (Gal. 6:9)

2.  Resilience    vs. Unbending / intransigent

– Recovers after reversals (2 Cor. 4:8-18)

– Refuses to quit in the face of failure (Josh. 1:5-9)

3.  Integration   vs.  Exclusive / intolerant

– Acceptant of differences (Rom.14:1-15:3)

– Displays no superiority (Rom. 12:9-21)

4.  Openness   vs.  Defensiveness / guardedness

– Acknowledges the need for change (James 5:14-16)

– Ready to share and bare (Gal. 6:1-2)

5.  Healthy Self-image   vs.  Inadequacy / inferiority

– Carries a Biblical view of self (Eph. 2:10)

– Displays confidence and boldness (1 John 1:8-9, 18-21)

6.  Positive, Happy Attitude   vs.  Negative / destructive emotions

– Displays happy emotions (Phil. 4:4-9)

– Focuses on positive aspects (Prov. 17:22; Psa. 100:1-5)

7.  Unselfishness   vs.  Egocentricity / self-centeredness 

– Give deference to others (1 Cor. 10:24)

– Values the whole as opposed to personal gain (Phil. 2:20-21)

8.  Self control   vs.  Reactionary / explosive

– Seeks the Spirit controlled life (Col. 3:1-8)

– Renounces fleshly behavior (Titus 2:11; 1 Cor. 9:27)

9.  Insight & Foresight   vs.  Imprudence / lacking in wisdom

– Having Divine wisdom (James 5:1-8)

– Making choices with the mind of Christ (Phil. 2:5-8; Amos 3:7)

10.  Peace & Joy   vs.  Dissatisfaction / unhappiness

– Characterized by a merry heart (Prov. 17:22)

– Dwells on the positive (Prov. 15:13)

11.  Optimism   vs.  Discouragement / pessimism

– Maintains a constant trust in God (Psa. 42:5-11; 43:5)

– Refuses to succumb to discouragement (Prov. 15:13)

12.  Self Disciplined   vs.  Expedient / undisciplined

– Open to self examination (1 Cor. 11:23-34) – Willing to purge one’s self (2 Tim. 19-21)