Every year I have the gift of the BroTrip: a trip with a group of guys I went to seminary with where we check in, spend time sharing about our lives, each person leading a devotion each day around a theme, and generally talking about the ministry we are doing in our lives both vocationally and avocationally. And, every year we get a jumping photo. We’re cool like that.
This year the theme was maturity and I wanted to write a few thoughts as a way of sharing a bit of the trip with you.
First, maturity is not a single thing. As we talked through the devotionals each of us had prepared I was amazed at the different shapes of maturity. Sometimes it was about our commitments, sometimes about relationships or our jobs. Sometimes it was simply about the ways we had changed our approach to life – to the joys, pains, disappointments, and successes that come with living. I think maturity can happen in all of these areas and takes a lot of different shapes, but I think a certain kind of maturity addresses all of these areas. I think spiritual growth toward maturity bears fruit in all different aspects of our lives because when we approach faith seriously we cannot keep it boxed up and separated. It is bound to touch and affect our relationships, commitments, vocations, joys and pains. When we attempt to exert control over what God is doing in our lives we will soon find roadblocks to maturity. Simply put: to grow mature in various aspects of our lives requires spiritual maturity as well.
Second, maturity is purposeful. This isn’t too revelatory, but I think I am only now discovering some of the ways maturity doesn’t come naturally. Maturity is something only time can develop, only effort and intention can produce. I think one of the reasons mentors are so valuable in life is because they help guide us on our own roads to maturity as they teach and share about their own experience.
Third, God wants an active role in this purposeful process that affects our lives. As we looked at Scripture throughout last week it was clear that God not only wants to help us grow and develop in all aspects of our lives, but that God desires to be involved in that process with us. God is faithful to us and part of that faithfulness means God is not just some distant existence, but rather a close and personal presence in our lives. God desires that we grow, change, and develop in a direction that invites God’s Kingdom into our lives and into the lives of others – and God wants to do that in partnership with us.
One of the lessons I will take from this year’s trip is an appreciation for the ways I have changed and grown over these past 6 years since graduating from seminary. But I am also cautious and humble as I seek the ways in which God continues to call me to change, develop, grow, and mature.