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Derwin Gray: What Makes a “Mature” Believer?

The maturity of the Christ-follower is of utmost importance.

So much so that the Apostle Paul said,

“So we preach Christ to everyone. With all possible wisdom, we warn and teach them in order to bring each one into God’s presence as a mature individual in union with Christ. To get this done, I toil and struggle, using the mighty strength which Christ supplies and which is at work in me.” Colossians 1:28-29 GNT

In my experience as a pastor and leader, I get the sense that many in the church seem to think that maturity or discipleship is about acquiring more biblical information, instead of pursuing life-transformation through a daily, love-drenched, Gospel-infused encounter with Jesus through the Holy Spirit’s indwelling presence.

It’s very possible to know the Bible but not know the Author of the Bible.

The Pharisees, or “separate ones,” studied the Scriptures passionately. They knew the Old Testament…by the age of 13! Yet they were blind to the One that every Hebrew letter in the Old Testament testified to – Jesus.

Listen to Jesus’ words to the Pharisees and to us,

“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about Me, yet you refuse to come to Me that you may have life.” John 5:39-40 ESV

Discipleship is not knowing more about Jesus, but knowing Jesus and being transformed into His image. His Life becomes ours. His mission becomes ours. What breaks His heart begins to break ours.

I once heard of a pastor who said his congregation was filled with mature oaks of the faith; therefore, their church stayed small because they were so mature and deep and intimate. He boasted that many of his members were in three different Bible studies per week with other Christ-followers. 

They didn’t celebrate baptism much at this church.