It’s true that nobody wants to grow old, but all of us should desire to be mature. Our bodies mature on us, whether we like it or not, but it’s important that we mature spiritually, as well. Do you ever think about that? If we could measure spiritual maturity, how would you measure up?
We sometimes say of children, “He’s big for his age,” meaning his physical stature is larger than most boys his age. Could anyone say that about your spiritual stature? Are you big for your spiritual age? Or is your growth stunted?
When we recognize that our child is not as mature as he or she should be in some area, we go to a specialist and try to figure out why our child is smaller, slower, or less active than she should be. Don’t you think we should be equally sensitive to our own spiritual maturity, and recognize areas where we need to “grow up”?
One way to find out how much we’ve grown in our faith walk is to pay attention to what comes out of our mouths—to measure our words. The book of Proverbs has lots of good advice about controlling our tongues, and in chapter 17 it gives us a clear measure of our maturity:
The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even-tempered. Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues (Proverbs 17:27-28).
Measure your maturity by whether or not you are restrained in what you say. This simply means you think before you speak; you ask yourself, “How would I feel if someone said that to me?” You consider whether you need to say it or not. You remember Ephesians 4:29, which says to let nothing unwholesome come out of your mouth, and therefore you use words with restraint.
Let me ask you this: Have you ever become intentional about controlling what you say? Do you ever pray that God will help you to control your tongue? This is one of the most important measures of maturity because, until we learn to control our tongues, we remain in that immature stage. We are not where we should be, and we need to start growing up.