Twelve Tough Questions That Examine Your Maturity

Six Tough Questions that Examine Your Christian Maturity

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Being reproved or rebuked is tough stuff. Nobody enjoys it. I don’t! When someone comes along pointing out a flaw in your life, it’s typically a tense moment because it cuts against the grain of our Adamic hearts. To be willing to have others speak into your life is one of the high marks of Christian maturity, making it a great time to ask a few tough questions to examine our Christian maturity.

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Rebukeable People

None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one (Romans 3:10-12).

Rebukeable people typically have humble and wise perspectives about themselves. They are rebukeable because the gospel has rightly informed them about their past, present, and future. Being informed by the gospel means they were in a helpless and worthless condition before the Lord chose to save them. (See Romans 3:10-12, 23, 5:12; Isaiah 64:6; 1 Timothy 1:15) They lived alienated from the life that anyone could have in God (Ephesians 4:18). This condition was the Lord’s view of them before salvation. They were dead in their sins, hell-bound, and outside God’s grace (Ephesians 2:1-10).

If you have been born again (John 3:7; Romans 10:9, 13), you are a child of the King, a person who has gone from the worst possible position a person could be to the best possible place a person will ever enjoy. Nothing anyone could say to you is worse than what the Lord has previously declared about you. Understanding this aspect of the gospel prevents you from fearing what others can say or do to you. Couple this gospel truth with who you are in Christ; most assuredly, you have nothing to protect or hide (Romans 8:31-39).

If you are not living daily in this gospel truth, temptation from your insecurity will motivate you to protect and defend your reputation before others. That kind of pride will truncate the effectiveness with which your friends can speak into your life, a soul-stunting posture before the Lord and others. We need a few appropriate people to have the freedom to speak into our lives. I’m not suggesting that everyone should have the freedom to state their opinions about you, especially if you’re unsure of their affection for you, but there should be at least one close confidant in your life. Those closest to you should have the most liberty to share their genuine perspective of you.

Test Yourself

  1. Do you have at least one person who knows they can rebuke you? Can you receive corrective observations from them?
  2. When they reprove you, how do you initially respond?
  3. When reproved, are you more focused on the person who said it and how they said it, or can you humbly respond to what was said?
  4. Do you pursue the reproving care of your close friends who have proven their affection for you?
  5. Are you tempted to sulk or go into self-pity mode after they reprove you?
  6. Do you express gratitude to those who love you enough to bring correction into your life?

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The Need for Rebuke

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for (1) teaching, for (2) reproof, for (3) correction, and for (4) training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

While the gospel is good news, its message implies there is terrible news. We would not need the good news if there was no bad news. You see this concept of bad-to-good news in Paul’s sequential keys to Christian maturity that he laid out for his friend Timothy. He taught that teaching brings reproof, which is supposed to knock us off our feet. That is the bad news. Thankfully, the Spirit of God would never leave us down and out (Psalm 23:3). He is a healer who binds our wounds (Psalm 147:3). A careful and accurate rebuke from the Lord paves the way for Him to implement His corrective measures.

The word “correction” means to be stood up or made erect. We must know the Lord wants to correct us because God is a fixer. He does not rebuke us because He enjoys bringing pain into our lives. There is always a redemptive purpose to His corrections. If we do not believe this, we will be tentative about receiving His reproof (Hebrews 12:6). Of course, some will argue that they don’t mind being rebuked by God, but the correction of sinful people rubs them the wrong way. This reality is a problem for sure.

It would be great if we all gave all reproof in perfect ways, but that is impossible among fallen people. Imperfect people reproving imperfect people will have an element of imperfection in it. Though there is a lot to say about wrongful rebukes, the point here is whether we are mature enough and hungry enough to find “the Lord’s rebuke” even through imperfect vessels. Can we learn anything from a poorly given rebuke? We can if our goal is Christian maturity. Maybe later, we can help the person who rebuked you badly, but for today, what can I learn even from an imperfect correction? Is there something I need to change?

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Test Yourself

  1. Are you more likely to focus on the reproof or the correction? (The former tends to be proud, while the latter tends to be humble.)
  2. Are you more preoccupied with arguing with the rebuker or how to mature in your sanctification for God’s glory?
  3. Do you believe you need others to help you walk through sanctification issues?
  4. Do you enlist the help of your friends so you can change?
  5. Do you believe others need you so you can help them walk through their sanctification issues?
  6. Would you say your commitment to change is more significant than your commitment to your reputation?

Call to Action

  1. Will you share these questions I have asked you with a close friend?
  2. Will you discuss how you can stir one another up to love and good deeds?
  3. Perhaps it will be awkward initially but will you persevere, asking the Father to provide you with a friend who cares about sanctification as much as you do?

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