Leaving Neverland Behind: An Earnest Call for Christian Maturity

by Rose-Marie Slosek

Until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God, as we mature to the full measure of the stature of Christ.[1]

Where are we all going? And what will it take to get there? You may have noticed significant lag time and formidable distance between the maturity we hope for and the immaturity we find ourselves in. Fear not. It is time for the spirit of Peter Pan to be bound and banished so we can flee the Neverland of mediocrity, compromise, and childishness God is intent on growing us up—for without maturity, we will not have the wisdom, the discernment, the endurance, and the good judgment we will need to navigate the rough waves and dark waters ahead.

We must face, brothers and sisters, that we have been, at times, or at all times, lax in our utter pursuit of God. It is time to run at full speed and to pursue God with wild abandon. It is time for us to grow up. Children rarely make good leaders. They are too self-focused and too inexperienced to understand a wide range of nuanced situations and to judge fairly between what is best for them and what is best for another or all. The Apostle Paul said, “the Law is a tutor to bring us to Christ.”[2] We need to be instructed before we can walk well with Christ and teach others to walk well with Him. Our first attempts may be dodgy indeed: there is simply too much to take in and too much of our flesh present to win, place, or even show early on. Fear not—it is God’s good pleasure to give us the Kingdom. We all start where we start, but the Lord intends for us to finish well.

God allows us time to grow, to let the Holy Spirit within us teach us and bend us to the likeness of Jesus. When we are fully molded to be and behave like Christ we will be fully prepared to enter our destiny as mature sons and daughters of God. Part of the mystery of God’s timing, and the increasing desperation of the Maranatha cry, arises from our awareness that we still have a ways to go in the maturing process. Jesus is not returning for spiritual toddlers but people who have sought Him long and hard, in all seasons, and who have learned obedience, like their Master, through the things they have suffered and that which has befallen them. Hebrews 2:10 (NIV) tells us that “in bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what He suffered.” 

Why or how would Jesus need to be made perfect? And no less through what He suffered? What comfort there is in this verse! The Father asked Jesus to walk out His obedience, and that took Him straight through the briar patch of betrayal, sorrow, pain, and grief. He chose to obey God in real-time difficult, even excruciating, circumstances. There is comfort in knowing that we are called to follow Him on a challenging path—one that Jesus already pioneered for us. It was Jesus’ complete resistance to evil and the steadfast setting of His face to obey God that caused Him to be perfect not just in heaven but in the dust of earth before principalities and powers! Praise God!

We must ask ourselves what things need to be matured in us in these turbulent times. First of all, we need to make an undivided commitment to follow the Lamb wherever He goes. Our lives are not our own but belong to the One who loved us and gave Himself for us. There is no maturity without obedience, even unto death, if need be. We cannot waffle between two masters. We must consecrate ourselves entirely to the Lord not just in word, but in deed and truth.

Secondly, we must allow the Lord deep access to our inner lives both to heal us and to disciple us. Our inner terrain may be quite ravaged and out of order. Perhaps things happened to us that were completely out of our control—things that deeply wounded us. Perhaps we were somewhat or wholly prodigal in enjoying the excesses of life, leaving our ability to rule ourselves, under the tutelage of the Holy Spirit, quite crippled. Perhaps no one taught us how to follow the Lord within. It is now time for a deep inner checkup to see where we are in need of growth, healing, succor, rebuke, or rehabilitation.

Third, we must be willing to enter more deeply and experientially into the unity that Jesus has called us into with Himself and each other. Jesus has prayed that we would be one, even as He and the Father are one. He asks that we might be united in Him so that the world may believe that God has indeed sent Christ![3] How amazing is that! You do not think that Jesus’ prayer will go unanswered, do you? He will find people that are willing for this to happen. Let it be us! We have some significant jobs to do and we must do them together.

My faith is not for myself and my benefit alone but for what God wants to accomplish. Maturity involves sacrifice. Jesus had to fall into the ground alone so that He might inherit a mature Bride—a promise He is still waiting on! Press into your growth, dear friends, for the sake of your Beloved! Allow your senses to be trained to discern good and evil by eating solid food, and not sticky buns. There are many paths and many voices gone out into the world but only One can lead us to the Kingdom. He is waiting for a generation that will eagerly follow Him, walking intimately and closely with Him, laboring with Him as He gathers the harvest for Himself.

Our God is a God who gathers and is waiting patiently so that no one will perish. Offenses will come to turn you back from maturity. Circumstances will press you so that you are sorely tempted to jump off the path of growth. Jesus is not asking you to do something that He did not do first and do well.

Some of the things that will happen to you will make you scream, so scream for grace to endure! Some of the things that will befall you will momentarily knock the wind out of you. Get up and breathe the air of heaven! Soar on the winds of the Spirit! Keep going, keep your eyes on the prize of who you really want to become. Maturity awaits you with each lesson learned and each victory earned. Do not progress, or indeed further regress, from the expected immaturity of youth to a foolish, unbecoming, silliness in your old age. Let us not be the potential teachers who never grew up: brothers and sisters of Peter Pan who remain spiritually adolescent rather than the gloriously mature fathers and mothers of the Kingdom of God. Shine on, dear ones. Marantha! 

Rose-Marie Slosek came to know the Lord in the early seventies and has a passion for organic church and the maturing of the Body of Christ. She serves on the Emmaus Online Lead Team, leads Maranatha Northeast, and a local home fellowship. She also serves Women of the Word on their Board of Directors. She can be reached at rmslosek@comcast.net.

This article was re-posted here with permission. It was originally posted on faipublishing.org

[1] Ephesians 4:13, Berean Standard
[2] Galatians 3:24
[3] John 17:21