“…until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.” - Ephesians 4:13-15
“He must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.” - James 1:6-8
Ephesians 4:13-15 describes in clear terms what Christian maturity is: conformity to Christ. Paul says it is “attaining the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” The process of sanctification is also defined in that marvelous passage as “growing up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.” But the passage also clearly defines immaturity as well, likening spiritual infancy to a fundamental instability on doctrine. Tossed back and forth by the waves of false doctrine. Unable to discern when false teachers are spinning out lies, they are easily swayed from sound doctrine. They go this way, then they go that way.
Amazingly, James uses similar language to describe doubt. The image is almost exactly the same, of an individual like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. James calls him unstable. James’ image is not one of a person buffeted by false doctrines that pull him this way and then that. Rather this person is buffeted by thoughts of unbelief… can God do this or not? Will God answer my prayer or not? Is God able or not? Is God there or not? Back and forth, buffeted by contrary thoughts one after the other, first confident, then doubting, then confident again, then doubting.
It is noteworthy that Jesus speaks of everyone who hears his doctrine and obeys that as a wise man who builds his house on a rock as opposed to sand. The rains come down, the streams rise, the wind beats against that house but it does not fall because it had its foundation on the rock. This is the very picture of spiritual maturity: stability based on the perfect word of God which never moves no matter what forces assault it.
"As we pursue spiritual maturity we do so in quest of a rock-solid stability of mind and character, lifestyle and habits, commitments and achievements that continue for a long time in the same direction."
So as we pursue spiritual maturity we do so in quest of a rock-solid stability of mind and character, lifestyle and habits, commitments and achievements that continue for a long time in the same direction. When it comes to doctrine, mature people are established and firm, not moved. (Col. 1:23) When it comes to Christian service, 1 Corinthians 15:58, “stand firm, let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord.” This is what Christian maturity looks like, as opposed to the doctrinal infant blown and tossed by the waves, and the doubter, also blown and tossed by the waves.