How Mature Are We?
I saw this graphic today, and liked it. It speaks the truth. There are obviously many more sayings that would be just as true, and some of them need to be learned by a segment of our society today.
But what about spiritual maturity? If we were going to define spiritual maturity, what would we say?
This is spiritual maturity: Spending sufficient time to increase our knowledge of scripture and grow our faith continuously. Being able to "rightly handle the word of truth". Recognizing our own shortcomings and being fully aware of our imperfections. Discipling others. Being slow to speak and slow to become angry. Living a servant oriented life. Making certain our priorities are in line with those of our Father. Pleasing God instead of pleasing ourselves. Understanding that we aren't there just yet! Even the Apostle Paul said in Phil 3:12-14 that he had not obtained it all yet, but he pressed on to arrive at his goal, to win the prize which God had called him to. We must press on as well.
The list of things that point to being mature spiritually could obviously go on and on, but when we see our lives aligning with God's wishes, we are growing, and healthy spiritual growth leads to maturity. Peter says, “For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:5–8). Let us not miss that these qualities need to always be increasing, we never really "max" out.
Equally important is recognizing what is NOT spiritual maturity. Bragging about being spiritually mature. Being harsh or looking down on those outside the Kingdom. Failure to show grace and mercy. Being proud of just how "good" we are or how full of Bible knowledge we are. Unscriptural judgment of others. Keeping the Word of God to ourselves. Being hypocritical, laying claim to Christ while we hold firmly to the world. Failure to demonstrate the love of God that is within us.
This list too could go on and on with things that Christians sometimes do that are not beneficial to the spread of the Gospel or the salvation of souls. These are all things that are detrimental to ourselves, and negate our efforts to become a mature Christian.
Part of being a mature Christian is occasionally stepping back so that we can see ourselves, and doing a bumper-to-bumper exam of our lives to see if we need to fix anything. It's also our job to help our fellow Christians do the same, in a loving and helpful way, if perhaps they need some guidance or assistance with a problem that involves immaturity. God expects us grow, so that we leave immaturity and progress to mature Christians as we live our lives. How are you doing?