Maturity by the Spirit
THE Jews in Jesus’ day thought that their form of worship was pleasing to God. Jesus, however, showed them that for them to be pleasing to God required far more than concern with mere outward forms and ceremonies, and more than concern about time, manner and places. He said: “God is a Spirit, and those worshiping him must worship with spirit and truth.” (John 4:24, NW) That requires being mature in one’s worship.*
To be mature means first of all to have an accurate knowledge of Jehovah God and his purposes and his will for us. Without such maturity of knowledge we are in danger of being “carried hither and thither” “with various and strange teachings”. (Eph. 1:17, 18; 4:14; Heb. 13:9, NW) Additionally, maturity means having one’s powers of perception trained so as to be able to distinguish between the good and the bad, between what is right and what is wrong. Further, the one who is truly mature not only can distinguish between right and wrong but has in his heart the right attitude toward these, a deep warm love for righteousness and a burning hatred for lawlessness. Maturity thus gives us the strong balance needed to resist temptations and pressures.—Matt. 5:21-28; Heb. 1:9; 5:14; 6:1, NW.
Maturity makes for increase, for the mature minister appreciates that the purpose of his dedication is to be a witness for Jehovah, is to bear Kingdom fruit. While properly concerned with the quantity of his work he is far more concerned with the quality of his ministry. Effective preaching requires accurate knowledge, unselfish motives, control of spirit and wisdom. All such are the fruits of maturity.—2 Pet. 1:5-10, NW.
The minister who is mature is able to rise above petty personal matters and so work in unity with his brothers. He appreciates that all the members of a body need each other, and so he not only attends meetings but takes part in them. Instead of looking for someone to help him the mature minister is seeking whom he may help.—Eph. 4:16; Col. 2:19, NW.
God’s spirit is indispensable to maturity. Only by means of it was Peter able to identify Jesus as the Messiah, and all the apostles were able to understand the sacred secret of Jehovah’s purpose regarding the body of Christ. (Matt. 16:17; Eph. 3:5-9, 18-20, NW) An orchestra conductor, to properly interpret the composer’s musical message, needs not only a musical score but also to imbibe the spirit of the composer. So likewise, for us to properly present God’s message to the people we must have his spirit by which only we can search out the deep things of God. To get that spirit we must not only study and meditate on God’s Word but also pray to God for it.—Luke 11:13; 1 Cor. 2:10, 12; Jas. 1:5, NW.
By means of God’s spirit we gain depth of sincerity and heart devotion, we improve the quality of our understanding, we make progress toward maturity. So, having begun in the pure worship, let us continue in the same routine, reading and studying privately and with others, pondering over these things and being absorbed in them, telling others about them and at all times looking to God’s spirit to guide and motivate us. Thus we shall progress to maturity.—Rom. 10:10; Phil. 3:13-16; 1 Tim. 4:15, 16, NW.
For details see The Watchtower, August 15 and September 1, 1952.