Spiritual Maturity

baby bottle from top

baby bottle from top (Photo credit: shyb)

Maturity. Most people begin to mature in their teens, but it’s a process. You’re not immature on Monday and suddenly mature on Tuesday. It happens over time.

Spiritual maturity is an important aspect of our lives as Christians. When we are first saved, we’re an “infant” as far as spiritual maturity goes. It’s important that, as the years pass, we don’t remain that way. We should be growing stronger in our faith, just as a baby would become a child, then an adolescent, and then an adult.

The thing is, a lot of us have very little spiritual maturity. To expand on this, let’s take a look at Hebrews 5:11-14.

We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand.  In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

This is a neat passage; it really makes you examine your own spiritual life. I like the metaphor: Are you still an infant, who lives on milk, or have you graduated to eating solid foods?

What it means by “milk” is a simple Christian life. Things new believers usually do. But Paul says, “though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again”. He’s not talking to new believers. He’s talking to people who have been Christians long enough that they should be able to teach others. However, they are the ones being taught “elementary truths”.

There’s more to this than meets the eye. “Milk” and “solid foods” can seem to just be teachings. And it is, partly: When we go to church on Sunday, our soul is receiving nourishment. However, becoming spiritually mature involves so much more:

  • Prayer. Is there any such thing as a healthy relationship that doesn’t involve talking to the other person? No! But although we claim to have a relationship with God, we often don’t take the time to just talk to Him. He’s there for us. He’ll listen, and He will respond. Prayer is an incredibly important aspect of growing spiritually.
  • Reading God’s Word. God communicates to us through His Word, but, along with prayer, we don’t always take the time to read our Bibles. The Bible is the living, breathing Word of God, and we have the privilege of being able to read it whenever we want to. Unfortunately, we often take it for granted.
  • Fellowship. Spend time with other believers! Encourage each other in the Lord and help each other to grow.

Doing these things will help you grow in Christ, but there’s no set of things that you do that will make you a mature Christian (and the list above is hardly complete). If you don’t have access to a Bible, that doesn’t mean you are spiritually immature.

self-control in green and black

self-control in green and black (Photo credit: stratoz)

I think, though, if you’re looking for a list of qualities that a spiritually mature person should have, the fruit of the Spirit are an excellent place to start:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)

Do you love and show kindness to others, even when they do you wrong? Does your relationship with the Lord bring the joy and peace that only God can give? When faced with temptations, do you exhibit self-control and choose to follow God above all else? Compare your life to these qualities and see where you’re lacking. Then ask God to help you grow in Him!

Another great source of qualities that define spiritual maturity are the Beatitudes. I won’t go into them all right now, but go here for more info. The Beatitudes include things like being pure of heart, a peacemaker, and meek.

I could keep going, but here’s my point: The Bible is your ultimate guide for growing as a Christian. When you have questions or doubts or just want to praise God for His goodness, go to Him in prayer! If you’re confused about a certain verse or something happening in your life, you can also go to fellow Christians or your pastor. We are surrounded by opportunities to grow as Christians; don’t miss out on them!

TTT

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