The Real Meaning of Maturity

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daily text logoSeptember 30, 2015

1 Corinthians 2:6-10

6 We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 However, as it is written:

“What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”—
the things God has prepared for those who love him—

10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. 

CONSIDER THIS

TO THOSE SANCTIFIED IN CHRIST JESUS AND CALLED TO BE HIS HOLY PEOPLE (i.e. “US”): 

Knowledge, insight, understanding and gifts have a way of creating detours for the followers of Jesus. Paul is drawing another sharp contrast for the Corinthians between the categories of Corinth and the ways of the Kingdom of God. The new Christians in Corinth were having a difficult time leaving behind the old ways of being a “Corinthian.” Instead, as invariably happens, they were overlaying their old, dead understandings onto the new and living way of the Cross.

In the old system, leaders and the people who followed them distinguished themselves by their sophisticated knowledge of “wisdom.” The most knowledgeable, insightful, eloquent and impressive won the day. It produced a sort of “class-ism” which created all sorts of distinctions and divisions among people. The Corinthians naturally brought this same value system right into their church with all its elitist egotistical baggage.

Here’s the big irony. They considered that Paul was giving them milk. They wanted to get on to the “deeper” stuff, the “real’ wisdom; you know, the stuff that would make them smarter, better and more “mature” than those other people. “Where’s the beef,” they seemed to be asking.** Paul was actually giving them “the beef.” He was giving them the straight up truth of the Gospel, which completely undermined their old ways of relating to each other. Whereas before, they were all looking for a way to distinguish themselves as the more “knowledgeable, insightful and mature” ones, Paul told them the truth which was precisely the opposite. The Cross crushes all such class distinctions. There were no special classes of Christians. In fact, the mark of a Christian was they would not only consider one another as equals, they would consider one another as better than themselves.

Through the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus and the coming of the Holy Spirit, a new day had come and the old system had been given notice. Those ways were “coming to nothing.” The way long hidden—the mystery—was no longer a secret. It was public knowledge. There was a catch though. The mystery of the “message of the Cross” is the way it is hidden from the proud yet revealed to the humble. It was not a source of knowledge or wisdom that could be seized or manipulated or taken control of. Didn’t Jesus pray something strangely familiar?

At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do. Matthew 11:25-26. 

This wisdom of God could only be received as a gift through the humility of bowing at the foot of the Cross; on the level ground at the feet of Jesus. And I think this is precisely the message—the truly solid food these Corinthians mistook for milk: The maturity of a person’s faith in Jesus is precisely commensurate with their growth in humility.

Right there—at the foot of the Cross, at the feet of Jesus, all of the revelation of God is made known to anyone who would get close enough to the ground to receive it.

“What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”—
the things God has prepared for those who love him—

these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. 

These Corinthian Christians wanted to be just that—Corinthian Christians. They wanted to import the Gospel into their already existing framework of power structures and social norms. The “message of the Cross” would transform them into Christian Corinthians. See the difference?

CALLED WITH YOU TO BE HIS HOLY PEOPLE.

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THE QUESTIONS

1. What part of the “old” value system of the world do you find the hardest to leave behind? It’s likely that part of it that you most built your life and identity around. What would that be for you? Prestige, wealth, appearance, possessions, respectability, position, status, ????

2. What, for you, might be the difference between an American Christian and a Christian American?

3. Have you experienced “elitist” Christians; people who claim special status or secret revelation from God? Have you ever been one of those people?

4. How do you resonate with this definition of maturity and its relationship to humility?

You can now listen to the Daily Text read aloud by J. D. Walt.

**I seem to be trafficking in fast food chains in this series. For those who remember, “Where’s the beef?” was Wendy’s famous break out ad campaign back in the last century. It brings me to offer a sincere apology to any McDonalds franchisees or loyalists who are reading the Daily Text. The other day I made a derogatory comment about McDonalds being in “the tank.” That was an unfortunate characterization which is neither true nor has anything to do with the Daily Text. I want to extend a sincere apology to all my readers for this errant comment.

P.S. Join the Daily Text Fasting Challenge. It’s 40 days, one day per week at a time, over the next 52 weeks. It’s a food only fast. Begins after supper on one day and ends at 4pm the next- 2 meals. Liquids fine. Fasting goes better together. I’ll send you a short weekly encouragement email if you register.– sign up here.

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J.D. Walt writes daily for Seedbed’s Daily Text. He serves as Seedbed’s Sower in Chief. Follow him @jdwalt on Twitter or email him at jd.walt@seedbed.com. Get the Daily Text delivered to your inbox fresh every morning. Subscribe HERE.

All Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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