As a believer seeking to be a wholehearted disciple of Jesus I have to ask the question. What does the end of maturity look like? Where/what is our destination? Well, the Sunday school answer to this is "sanctification" ..... well, ok but what does a man who has gone through the fires of sanctification look like? Well, in a very simple answer to that question the most logical thing to do is to turn to the end of the story. The book of Revelation has this verse at the very end of the book that is so short but really does sum up the fulness of maturity. Rev. 22:17 - The Spirit and the Bride say Come! Here is a snapshot of what is in the heart of the church right before Jesus comes back to the earth. And we know that Jesus is not coming for an immature bride. She will be a worthy eternal companion for Jesus, for He is coming for a pure and spotless Bride (Eph 5). So what does this tell us about the fullness of maturity? Well, it shows us that the main and central heart cry of the church at the end of the age will be "Come Lord Jesus..... we miss you!.... things are not OK without you here........ we can't bear to be apart from you one more day" Just as a bride and a groom long for consummation and union so will the church enter into longing for full union with Christ which is found at the resurrection at His appearing. Right now the church has its affections mostly set more upon comfort and ease, ministry success, finances, etc. The church is not really longing for Jesus to return, it is mostly content with Him away as long as He gives us what we need to be comfortable and happy in this life. Interestingly enough, the 22:17 cry comes from a church that is in the midst of the greatest trial and chaos the world has ever seen during the great tribulation. But this is not a cry saying "come save us..." this is a cry of a bride saying I miss you Lord Jesus come!
Imagine if we became so preoccupied with Jesus, His life, His glory, His person, His nature that we began to actually became so acquainted with Him relationally that we began to miss Him. Imagine if we became more consumed with His life than our own and we started to care less and less about this broken age, and we started to care more and more about the great day of His appearing. To embody this cry is to go through difficulty un-offended and still be gazing at Him, His goodness and longing for His return! I mean it seems like we aren't in love with Him, for love longs for the object of its affection. Are we longing for Him? Do I miss Him today? Did I wake up longing for Him to come, ....and not just to save me from suffering but so that I could be with Him?
It seems to me that the end of maturity is to embody this verse accompanied with the fullness of obedience to His word. This is where a life becomes consumed with one single longing "come Lord Jesus! I miss you!" Then we will become like the apostle paul and be flung into a torrent of worship and missions to see every tribe tongue people and nation worship Him and long for Him. He isn't going to return until He is being worshipped in every place by every tribe tongue people and nation. So the One consumed with Love will go to the four corners of the earth proclaiming His beauty so that all people might adore Him so that He will have an equally yoked bride reciprocating His love back to Him.
So my plumb line of maturity must be according to this question... "am I growing in Love" True love is then expressed by obedience to His word and by longing for Him to come. So the end of sanctification is the wholehearted lover of Jesus who in only concerned with Him, and His glory and what matters to Him ... (which is loving Him and His prized image bearers like He does). The end goal of love is to plumb the depths of communion with the beloved, to come into the fullness of union where the fullness of love can be experienced and given. This only happens when He comes. Our great hope; our anchor; or single great longing as believers should be the same as His.... to be with Him where He is....
no matter what happens in this broken age, nothing can change who He is and what He has done. His nail pierced hands scream "I love you" every day!!! we can never doubt His motives towards us ever again, we can never doubt His leadership in our lives. Through the ups and downs, ins and outs of this life, one thing remains constant. Jesus! He is good and He loves us, and He is coming back for a Bride that loves Him the same way that the Father loves Him. Come Lord Jesus Come we miss you!!!!