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Clayton and Charie King wrote a book called, “12 Questions to Ask Before You Marry.” In this book they give a basic list of things (i.e. attitudes, behaviors, reactions, etc) to help determine the level of maturity when it comes to emotional, spiritual, social and financial health.
They encourage the reader to look at the list of questions as “road signs” or markers in order to help us to see where we are when it comes to maturity. This is just one indication that a person is ready to step into the next stage of life.
After going over the list, it can be easy to be discouraged rather than taking the appropriate steps to grow into maturity. Whether it is getting a mentor or getting a disciple, it is critical that we are proactive in taking responsibility for our maturity. God will always do His part, but we have to make sure that we do our part.
In Relevant Magazine, the Kings share 14 markers to look for when it comes to maturity:
2) You have never had a job of any kind for more than six months. If you have never worked, you need a job. Any job will do. Just start somewhere. You need the experience. If you’ve had numerous jobs over the years and none of them have lasted very long, it may be a sign that you are lazy or easily bored or have a problem being told what to do by a boss.
3) You are unable to pay your basic bills each month. Without assistance from family members or friends, you simply could not make it financially. This includes car insurance, rent, groceries, power bill and basic medical expenses. If you can’t pay your basic bills, you will cause a train wreck later on.
4) As a general rule, you lack self-control in your life. Whether it’s your spending habits, how much you eat, the amount of time you spend watching TV or your constant obsession with being online (checking email, Facebook, Twitter or YouTube), these are signs of immaturity, and are a crucial red flag that points to an inability to control your desires.
5) Your relationships look more like a roller coaster than a marathon. You are unable to develop long-term relationships with the opposite sex. You’ve never learned how to push through problems, boredom or conflict, and your default mechanism is to break it off and start a new one. Your past is filled with failure in the area of commitment.
6) You always play the victim. You’re always secretly trying to uncover a conspiracy by your peers to exclude you from social outings, parties, get-togethers or group dates. It’s immature to think the cosmic forces of nature and love have combined their powers to hurt you. None of us are that important in the grand scheme of things.
7) You tend to speak negatively of other people. Whether in one-on-one conversations or in large groups, your habit is to bash or attack someone who is not present to defend themselves. Immature people say things about people behind their backs (or online) that they would never dream of saying to their faces.
8) You are plagued by jealousy. Little children get upset on the playground when they see their best friend playing with or talking to another child. Grown-ups get past this stage … at least they should. Are you consistently jealous of other people’s possessions, salaries, houses, cars, friends, physical appearance or family? Can you celebrate the blessings of God in others’ lives? Or does God’s goodness to others stir up envy inside your heart toward them?
9) You have trouble finishing. My two sons are notorious for starting little projects around the house, getting bored and then abandoning them for us to dean up. They don’t know how to finish things yet because they’re not even 10 years old. Are you known for beginning things all gung-ho with great passion, but you consistently fizzle out and never see it through? Grown-ups finish what they start.
10) You are crippled by debt. The most practical area of your life to examine is your finances. If you owe tens of thousands of dollars on credit cards, student loans, your car and so on, then your problem is not your debt. It’s immaturity. You haven’t yet learned how to live within your means.
11) You can’t say no. If you are the guy or the girl who is always taking care of others, bailing your friends out, staying up til 2 a.m. on the phone trying to talk them out of another crisis, then you will have a rude awakening when your own life expects you to give your undivided attention.
12) You fall in love too fast. How many times have you told someone that you were “in love” with them since you turned 18? This may be an indication that you need to mature emotionally. Falling in love after every first date shows you haven’t really moved very far toward emotional maturity. It also guarantees you will get hurt as often as you fall in love, leaving your heart wounded for years to come.
13) Your relationships are too physical. If you have a track record of messing around and messing up with just about everyone you’ve ever liked or dated, this is bad news. When you start out basing a relationship on making out, kissing or fooling around physically, you teach yourself to ignore the other person, their feelings and the self-control that is essential in a godly marriage. Adults draw the line and stand back. Children run ahead without caution and suffer for it.
14) You have a problem with authority. Children hate being told what to do, regardless of their inability to be responsible for themselves. Are you like that? Do you tend to rebel against all forms of authority in your life? Do you balk at being told what to do by the government, the IRS, even a traffic policeman? Grown-ups understand that submission to authority is in their best interest, and they are willing to submit to God first and then to one another. Immature kids rebel.
May this list EXPOSE, ENLIGHTEN and ENCOURAGE us. Maturity is often times a painful process; but this is when we have to remember that while Jesus loves us just the way we are, He loves us too much to leave us where we are. Let’s take the steps to mature.