Who’s Mature Anyway?
Opening Discussion Questions
Who among your peers do you regard as the “most mature”? As “most infantile”? Why do you think so?
On the road to maturity, which of the two, are you like?
Which of these areas are you more mature in than the others? Financial maturity? Socially maturity? Maturity in Relationships? Emotional Maturity? Spiritual Maturity? Moral Maturity? Intellectual Maturity?
Are adults always more mature than college students? Are adults always more mature than children? Can a six-year-old be mature? How does age relate to maturity?
I. Different Definitions of Maturity
1. Maturity – Final destination concept.
This concept makes maturity equivalent to adulthood. A half-grown child is considered to be half-mature. However, there is disagreement about the point at which full maturity is reached.
2. Maturity – Sliding scale concept.
A person may be mature at any age level. Maturity is related to the standards of that age- group’s characteristics. A child may be mature (meaning he displays the characteristics that are normal for his age group), and an adult can be immature (meaning he does not display the characteristics that are considered normal for his age group.)
Question: Does anyone have an example that illustrates this?
II. Measures of Marks of Maturity
Questions: What are some of the “marks” or “measures” of maturity? What are some of the things mature people “just do” naturally without being reminded?
Let’s look at a few marks of maturity.
1. Maturity understands delayed gratification. Understanding self-discipline is one of the very first signs of maturity. This can be clearly seen by simply watching a child demand what he wants “right now.” The mature individual is willing to pass up immediate pleasures and select a course of action that will pay dividends later.
(Heb. 11: 24-26) 24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.
Question: What exactly did Moses give up “when he had grown up? How does the phrase “rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time” (Heb. 11: 25) relate to this mark of maturity? (The Bible is conceding that sin has pleasure for a short time, but points out that when Moses grew up- matured – he no longer went after those things.
2. Maturity finds satisfaction in things as they are. The mature individual is able to accept both the good and bad things in life without collapse or retreat (Phil. 4:11). He is profited even by the hardships of life (James 1:2-4).
Question: When have you wished that certain things in your life could just be different? What are those things you’d like to change? Have you found it hard to accept the tough times with the good times? What have you learned in some of those hard times?
3. Maturity makes a decision and sticks to it.
The mature person is able to choose a direction and stay with it (Heb. 13:8,9). Decisiveness has always been one of the distinctive marks of maturity. When a person is secure in their belief system, they can easily make judgments concerning even difficult decisions. If that belief system is Christianity, then maturity is gained by having a working knowledge of God’s word. Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” The Word of God, the Bible gives all kinds of wisdom for those who are growing in this belief system.
Question: Have you ever been around someone who simply could not make up their mind about anything? This person gets very little done.
4. Maturity has the ability to love. Perfect love is seen in the perfect example of maturity we have, Jesus Christ (John 15:13). Love is that which serves as the final binding force of maturity (Col. 3:14).
5. Maturity accepts the authority of others. The mature person realizes that everyone lives under authority (1 Cor. 11:3).
6. Maturity has proper self-understanding. The mature individual knows his own weaknesses as well as his strengths and abilities.
7. Maturity understands everyone is a part of a greater whole. He works for a greater cause than his own selfish gain. He joins up with a group of people who are affecting the world in a positive way. How does Eph. 4:15-16 teach us the necessity of being a part of a larger group?
Looking back to these “marks of maturity”, what areas need improvement for your maturity?