The concept of maturity is a major issue in the success of relationships. It’s the one word that could potentially sum up all we need to be and have for a relationship to work out smoothly. This is why I am spending so much time on it and I do hope you consider it worth your while.
Last time on this series, we started talking about the human will. How does the operations of the will factor into assessing maturity?
As I mentioned previously, it is your will that gives you the capacity to choose and for that you are responsible for your choices and the actions that follow those choices. No one can make you do anything you don’t want to … absolutely no one. People blame the devil all the time (after they have been caught, mind you) but in reality all the devil can do is make tantalizing suggestions till our intellect is suspended and, with it, our sense of morality. Then our emotions take over and suddenly our reasoning is no longer based on logic but on personal desire and we make a decision, a choice, to do that wrong deed. That’s how it works every time … every time.
James 1:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
Genesis 3:6 And when the woman saw that the tree [was] good for food, and that it [was] pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make [one] wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
God certainly doesn’t make anyone do anything. He doesn’t violate the human will … He created man to be a free moral agent just like Himself and He holds Himself to that decision. The Bible documents God’s interaction with lots of people and in not one single occasion do we see Him forcing His will on them. Rather, He makes the options clear as well as their consequences and proceeds to invite them to make the wise choice for the beneficial option. I know God will not violate any human will because if he could, everyone would be born again by now but yet we reduce His advances every time and people are still dying and going to Hell in spite of the fact that God doesn’t want them to.
2Peter 3:9 The Lord is … not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
Born again Christians are not under His remote control either. We each have found ourselves battling with the will of God at one time or the other, knowing what He wants us to do but refusing to go ahead and get it done for any number of personal reasons. For God to be able to get us to do anything He wants, we have to yield or surrender to Him. Jesus is savior to a lot of us but He is not Lord to that many because we have to surrender our wills to Him for Him to be Lord over us. The human will is the final frontier of human autonomy; surrendering it to someone merges you with that person. That’s what submission is; letting someone else decide what should be done, and complying with the decision made, even when you have the power to choose what you wish.
The absence of submission is what is called rebellion and this is one of the character traits you expect to find in children. The very thing you ask them not to do is what they want to do and until they have done it, they won’t forget about it. If you’re a parent, you find you often have to subdue your child to keep him in line. Explaining the options and their consequences only begins to work as the child grows up and even then, there are always new limits to be tested and they will test those limits just to see what you would do.
There are people, I’m sure you’ve met some, who just seem to like to make trouble no matter what team they are in. Just because the leader says to stand up, they will choose to sit and when everyone is asked to sit, they will find a reason to stand up. Anyone could get them to do anything but should the person making the request have any form of authority over them, the first reaction is to refuse. They would likely disagree before they even fully understand what the point being made is.
I think part of the reason is the fear of being taken for granted and being considered less than what you feel you really are. It’s a big deal to some people. This tendency makes it difficult for them to submit and serve and that in itself is a sign of immaturity. If being so afraid to be mistaken for a servant makes you refuse to submit and serve, you’re not mature yet.Let’s call this point #6.
Furthermore, blaming someone else or the devil for your mistakes and failing to take responsibility for your actions is immaturity. It means you expect someone else to be making decisions for you concerning things that you have power over. If that’s you, you’re still a baby and you have some maturing to do.