God calls us to grow up in our understanding (1Co 14:20); He’s concerned for our hearts and minds, what we’re thinking and how we’re feeling. (Ep 3:16-19) He’s more about the why than the what (Ro 2:6-8), more about who we are than what we do, more about our motives than our actions. (1Co 3:13)
As children we tend to major on the minor, we’re easily frustrated and upset, and we’re focused on pleasing ourselves. We’re impatient, ignorant, foolish, unthankful, undisciplined, lacking self-control. We tend to give up too easily, depend on others to take care of us, not taking responsibility for ourselves or our actions. We’re quick to accuse and blame, and to use force to get our way. We value things above people, and care little about truth. But as adults we don’t blame kids for being kids; we all start out this way and need to grow up.
The key to maturity lies in our character, our thought patterns, attitudes and perspectives (1Co 13:11), which reflect our mind and heart. (Lk 6:45) As we grow in wisdom and become more stable in our thinking and beliefs (Ep 4:14), learning to speak truth in love (Ep 4:29), we mature more and more into the likeness of Christ. (Ep 4:15)
We learn to value truth above relationships, and relationships above material things. Circumstances tend less and less to impact our joy; we worry less (Php 4:6) and give thanks more consistently; we’re not offended as easily and we have more peace. (Php 4:7) We have more strength, self-control, discipline, and we don’t give up as easily. (1Co 16:13) We’re more others-centered (Php 2:4), less judgmental, and more humble (1Pe 5:5), merciful, benevolent, gentle, kind. (Col 2:7) We learn to honor others regardless of their behavior, to love our enemies, and to esteem all others better than ourselves.