What Is Emotional Maturity?

While nearly all people grow up physically, very few grow up emotionally. How about you? Are you emotionally mature? Do you know what emotional maturity is?

Herbert W. Armstrong described three categories into which people generally fall.

First, there are those who let themselves go to an emotional extreme. They have never put any control on their emotions. They are upset by the smallest matters. They also overdo flattery and are often into gossip. They continually feel jealousy or are excessively jubilant.

Second, there are those who go to the opposite extreme. Their emotions are so controlled that they have been put to death. They no longer feel deeply about anything. They struggle to be sincere, to feel compassion or empathy.

Third, there are those in the middle ground. They don’t go to extremes, but they are indifferent with no real ambition. They have not developed their personality.

Those who are emotionally immature have not learned to control their moods. They see their circumstances through the eyes of their emotions and feelings.

But what about real emotional maturity? Where can we look to learn about it?

The Bible is full of examples of people who grew up emotionally. Consider how Daniel, David, Jeremiah and others prayed with deep, heartfelt emotion.

Emotional maturity must be learned by the mind and developed by self-discipline.

The emotionally mature individual will use godly wisdom to direct his or her path. To be emotionally mature, we have to learn to live by every word of God (Matthew 4:4).

Jesus Christ is our perfect example. He was emotionally mature. This does not mean that Jesus didn’t have strong emotions. Rather, He knew how to control them and use them effectively.

Notice how Jesus looked out over Jerusalem and expressed deep emotion for the city and its inhabitants in Matthew 23:37: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!”

Christ longed to save Jerusalem and its people from destruction! He expressed that deep emotion. It was the proper emotion, expressed in the right way and at the right time.

The study of Christ’s life is a master class on emotional maturity. He displayed the full range of emotions, but He never sinned. He knew how to do God’s will at all times (John 8:29).

No matter where you are on the range of emotional maturity, you can grow! Matthew 5:48 instructs us to become perfect like God our Father. Philippians 2:5 tells us to have the mind of Christ in us.

Romans 8:14 tells us that those who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God. Using God’s Spirit is essential to developing emotional maturity. The gift of God’s Spirit is given upon repentance and baptism (Acts 2:38).

To learn more about Christ’s life of emotional maturity, request our free reprint article “The Real Jesus.”