Article by Michael Bolland
Lately, I’ve found myself exploring what it means to live out a mature faith in Jesus Christ. Usually, in an immature fashion, I would keep this contemplation isolated to myself, but one thing I’ve observed about those I look up to in the faith is that they invite others into the questions they are considering in any given season.
So, I’d love to invite the body of men at Hope Community Church to help me consider:
“What does it mean to live out a mature faith in Jesus?”
To start the conversation, I want to offer some marks of maturity I have observed others display in their faith walk with Jesus. Then I want to pass the conversation to you and hear from the Men of Hope. Here we go!
1.) Contribution Consideration
I observe maturity in someone’s faith when they start to take steps to consider their own contribution to the existent brokenness in the world. I think this is one way that I see people display what the Bible calls being “repentant.” The particularly mature aspect of this becomes evident when these considerations are grounded in the grace of the gospel. When we know the forgiveness of Christ, consideration of our sin leads us not to despair, but a dependence that furthers maturity of our faith in Jesus.
“So I find this law at work: although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:21-24)
2.) Honor Outside the Tribe
Over a lifetime, an environment around us is identified where we feel most “at home,” and often these constructions lend themselves to what I will call “tribal loyalties.” Now, the nature or function of these loyalties isn’t necessarily completely bad, however, they can become particularly poisonous if one’s constructed environment lends itself toward the isolation from, depreciation of, and division within the whole landscape. Especially with the times we are in, I find great maturity in someone’s faith walk when they can, from a sense of security in Jesus, defer or restrain their “tribal loyalties” for the sake of unity in the broader landscape of society or even simply within the body of Christ.
“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28)
3.) Calm & Confident Handling of Complexity & Mystery
This world, the God who made it, and our human existence will perplex the best of us due to the sheer complexity and mystery at hand. The intricacy and uncertainty of our experiences can be uniquely stressful & agitating, so I admire those who’ve taken the time to be calmed by the hand of our sovereign God while living in a world such as ours. A mature mark I observe in the faith of others is that through trusting Jesus who rose from the dead, they are able to better manage their response to the confusing chaos in the world and within themselves.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
How would you continue the conversation?
What are marks of mature faith you have seen in others?