Mature Living

When I was a kid, my mother would occasionally make the rounds at local yard sales on Saturday morning to hunt for bargains. She would come back with all kinds of treasures. Every now and then, she would pick up a jigsaw puzzle for us to put together as a family.

There are good and bad points about yard sale jigsaw puzzles.

On the plus side, they are usually very cheap.

But then there’s a big negative, something you don’t learn until after you’ve already invested a fair amount of time working the puzzle. Yard sale jigsaw puzzles tend to have missing pieces. It may just be one piece, and after hours of work, you discover that Mickey Mouse will never get his nose, or the kitten will always have one absent paw, or the covered bridge across the winding creek leads to nowhere. The last piece just isn’t there to put in place.

The Bible shows us that, without trials, we are like yard sale jigsaw puzzles. There are pieces in our lives that can only be put in place through the pressures and challenges of life.

God uses trials in our lives to make us more mature.

His Word says:

But let patience [the ability to persevere in a trail] have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. (James 1:4, NKJV)

Someone has said, “You’re only young once, but you can be immature forever.”

God wants us to grow to be complete and mature, and trials often teach us to grow up.

Three terms in this verse describe Christian maturity:

Perfect – In the original language, this word does not mean sinless, or free from fault or error. Instead, it means finished, full-grown, and mature.

Complete – This word means having all the parts in place. It’s a word that indicates wholeness.

Lacking nothing – To lack nothing means that there is no deficiency or missing piece.

Add them all together, and James is saying that trials put together the pieces in our lives so that we become complete and finished.

In the spiritual realm, there are many people who keep living the first year of their Christian lives over and over again. They keep hanging onto the same immature attitudes, continue in the same old sins, and keep experiencing the same failure, frustration, and defeat in their spiritual growth.

You’ve probably known your share of people who have grown old without ever growing up.

But as we trust God in our trials, He works through them to bless us with spiritual maturity. The perfect picture of spiritual maturity is Jesus Christ. While we might be tempted to pray for God to take every trial from us, the truth is, we’ll never become more like Jesus Christ if we never face a trial. His life was filled with trials, pain, and sorrow. To be like Him means to be united with His suffering. We can praise the Lord that our trials make us more like Jesus!

Have a great day and keep moving forward!

Suggested Bible Reading

James 1

Prayer Guide

Today as you pray …

Thank God that He has a plan for you to become mature as a believer.

Ask Him to use the trials you are facing to put the missing pieces in place in your life.

Because spiritual maturity is ultimately to become more and more like Jesus, ask God to create a Christ-like spirit and character in you.