We must not just please ourselves. We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord. For even Christ didn’t live to please himself. Romans 15:2-3 (NLT)
What makes someone “mature”? Is it age? Is it the number of years you have behind you since they allowed you to start driving?
Genuine maturity in a Christian has very little to do with age. Instead it is measured in how much a person has grown to be like the Master he is following. The word we use is Christ-like, and it describes how much of the Lord Jesus other people see when they look at your actions and attitudes.
Paul makes the point that grown-ups bear the weakness of those who are still immature. With a child you look past his childish ways and do those things that will help him become mature.
In order to do that you must be willing to do what Jesus did, put aside normal human desire to be treated fairly, for the good of setting the best example for the one you’re interested in helping.
Answering a specific question the Corinthian believers had, the Apostle made the point in the previous chapter that food should not be an issue for Christians. It seems, due to extreme poverty among the early church, some believers had taken to buying the really cheap meat in the marketplace which had been sacrificed to idols in pagan worship rituals. Some saw this as pandering to idolatry. But, for the poor brothers and sisters it was simply survival.
Paul knew some were convicted in their hearts that eating food sacrificed to idols was sin; some not. He told them to put aside their “right” in this case – the right to eat the food – because it was more important to help young, less-mature believers get strong in their faith than win a theological argument.
It takes a sacrificial heart to put aside that to which you’re rightfully entitled, just so another brother or sister can be helped.
Paul knew the heart of Christ. He knew Jesus lived (and died) so that others could be lifted up.
And that is what genuine Christian maturity looks like. I’ve seen it in teenage believers; I’ve also seen the absence of it in people of great age.
For You, Today…