Becoming mature is a vital process. As we begin reading Paul’s letter to the Colossians Paul’s earnestness unfolds. The believers there had once been “very hostile in mind, doing evil deeds” (1:21). But now? They are on the only road that leads to salvation, a road we are on! It leads to a wonderful and eternal existence “if indeed” says Paul “you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard … of which I, Paul, became a minister” (verse 23). Paul writes of “the mystery” explaining it “is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (verse 27). What vision does this conjure up as we contemplate this “hope of glory” which begins with the reality of having Christ “in” us.
In the next verse Paul says he proclaims Christ, “warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature”. Warning and teaching! Paul is passionately committed to effectively serving his Lord who “called” him on the road to Damascus. He is doing this “with all wisdom”, he is not a teacher who is just presenting facts to his pupils, but, through the spirit, he is “teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ”.
Some of us have been university educated, giving a knowledge of particular things to a good degree – but that does not make us mature, although we might think we are. Certainly we do not have “all wisdom”.
Look carefully at the final verse in this chapter. It indicates Paul’s commitment – and what an example he is! He writes of his dedication to be successful in making “everyone mature” saying “For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me”. Paul makes the same point to the Philippians “Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us” (3:17). Are you and I mature? Are we imitating Paul? Are we letting our Lord work within us? What example are we setting?