Welcome to my second guest post! This one is done by one of my other closest friends on the internet, a man of many names. I know him best as Neil of Erk, because that is what I first met him as (on Holy Worlds). He is also known as Jordan Wright, and as the author of his blog, Beware the Darkness, where I recently did a guest post for him. I am honored to now post his article on something which I consider to be of prime importance.
So without further ado, welcome Neil of Erk!
Most, if not all, of the people who read this post probably desire to be mature. The difference is mainly in our perceptions of mature people, and what we mean when we use the word “mature”. I would like to briefly cover several different forms of maturity, and then discuss the final, and most valuable, form of maturity: Spiritual maturity.
First, there is physical maturity. This “maturity” is largely relative, but clear in certain areas. A child, for example, is generally to be considered physically weak, in need of physical support, and is clearly still working on mastering hand-eye coordination. A young man is often said to be in “the peak of physical condition”, “fit”, or “healthy”. Such young people are usually strong and well coordinated. This is generally what we mean by physical maturity. Older people sometimes said to have reached “a ripe old age”, a statement that refers to a fruit that has ripened.
There is also mental maturity. Children are usually poor logicians; the wise and sage elders are often the masters of logic. Children usually have difficulty understanding scientific concepts, while those “over the hill” seem to be the greatest scientists. Mental maturity is the most intangible form of maturity, because it is often based on our own personality type, and other such relative factors, which cause us to compare other persons to our self.
The greatest, and second most tangible, form of maturity is spiritual maturity. It is my personal belief, based on Biblical and natural principles, that there are three stages of spiritual life, and when a person is fulfilling their current role in these three stages, they are to be considered mature.
When a child is born into the world, they are also born into submission, the first stage of a long walk through life. During the time of submission children and youths are like untamed colts, to be broken to the will of the Lord, so that they may serve him better. This is a period of weakness. We serve, and slave, and are not to question, merely to do, for in doing is learning. The lessons of submission form the building blocks of the next stage of our lives.
When a young man or woman is fully submitted to their parents and the Lord, then they ought to be considered “adult” in their behavior. At this point the path men will walk becomes different from the path woman will walk, mostly in timing, but also in direction.
When a young man has been fully broken, God considers him ready for his tasks, and empowers him with the spiritual powers to perform these tasks. This marks the entrance to manhood, as well as the departure from submission and the entry into the stage of strength. This is not to say that the lessons and rules of submission change, but a man’s place in the world has changed. He is not quickly becoming an authority. This is the path of strength, and its lessons and trials will consume most of a man’s life.
The journey of strength is different for a woman, because while she may become an authority figure as a parent, she will also be in submission to her husband, rather than a boss at the office, or some other employer. This might almost be considered a blessing, because a woman will be constantly reminded of the lessons of submission, and yet, will still have many authority positions.
Finally, we come to sacrifice. Usually women enter this stage before men, but it appears similarly for both.
A person who is fully committed to the stage of sacrifice has reached the age where they must let go of the gifts they have been given. Eye sight fades, hearing become unclear, the limbs move slowly, even the mind is effected. But that alone is no sacrifice, it is just loss.
Sacrifice is even more. Not only are the elderly loosing their gifts and strengths, but those who are wise begin spend what little strength they have left on the younger generation: Pouring out their strength and wisdom to those farther behind on the path. The leader becomes the advisor. The warrior becomes the teacher.
Now, I might argue that those who reach the stage of sacrifice are the mature, but that’s not how I see it. Allow me to explain.
Each stage has a sort of “Code of Honor” behind it. Submission, Strength, Sacrifice, they all have a code and set of concepts that guide you through the stage. I believe those that truly understand and follow these “codes” are the mature.
The youth who is truly submitted to authority. The adult who is boldly using their spiritual gifts, wisely ordering those who have been placed under them. The elderly, gently and strongly giving away that spiritual power, giving up leading for advising, strength for sacrifice.
These people, they are the mature.
You will do well to learn from them.