October 19, 1991

Maturity—Gods Ultimate Goal

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“Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” JAMES 1:4

God always has a purpose and agenda. He makes that clear in Jeremiah 29:11: ‘”For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'” But what specific plans does God have for us? Although He has a customized agenda for each individual, part of the plan is the same for all of us. That item on the agenda is captured in the word maturity.

James describes the concept of maturity in two distinct words and a final phrase. The first word is teleios. This is one of James’s favorite words. Teleios means that everything has an intended purpose; when that purpose is fulfilled, teleios is achieved. Throughout the New Testament, teleios is often translated “mature.” Maturity includes discovering and fulfilling our intended mission in life. That can include our work, but it is bigger than that.

The second word is holos, which means “whole” or “complete.” James says the finished work of maturity is completeness or wholeness. Jesus expressed this thought when He said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).

James adds one more phrase at the end of the verse—”not lacking anything.” That literally means, “nothing has been left behind.” No area of development has been overlooked or neglected. This is exactly the idea in Luke 2:52: “Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” Jesus matured mentally, physically, spiritually, and socially.

God has a purpose and an agenda for every one of His children. Part of it is a mystery that each individual must investigate. But another part is crystal-clear, set down by James in his New Testament letter to the followers of Jesus. Maturity, he writes, is God’s ultimate goal for each of us.

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