What is the measure of maturity in the Christian life?
Knowledge, spiritual gifting, discernment, understanding, revelation?
I believe these are the qualities that have been held up as standards of maturity in the church.
What would change in our lives, our communities, and our churches if love was held up as the highest measure of maturity, the ultimate standard of growth and success?
Coming from the charismatic realm, revelation and spiritual gifting were valued. I am not saying they aren’t important, but if they take a back seat to love, they are nothing. What if spiritual gifts are not the truest measure of maturity in the kingdom?
Another example of this the value for “absolute truth.” What good is contending for truth without love? I am not saying that biblical knowledge and understanding aren’t important, but if they take a back seat to love, they are worthless.
For the watchdog types who strive to protect the world from false teaching and error, is it possible that they have slipped into greater error? So often I sense in their writing a fear of including someone undeserving in fellowship, someone who has not measured up to the mark. What if a greater mistake would be excluding someone that God wants us to love?
What if correct doctrine is not the truest measure of maturity in the kingdom?
Today, I am reminded of the statement from Corinthians:
“If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” I Corinthians 13:2
So, who is mature?
“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.” James 3:13