Going to church on a regular basis does not automatically make you a mature Christian. I'd never tell you not to go to church on Sundays, but hearing the word isn't the same as obeying it. Despite their capacity to speak truthful things about God, I am concerned that some believers are not developing in Christian maturity. True gospel growth is dependent on a correct understanding of God, which is evidenced by the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-24). However, it is conceivable to experience stunted growth while attending a church with sound teaching. After several years of strong biblical teaching, the author of Hebrews grieved that his audience had made little progress in their Christian lives. He penned,
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Because, even though you should be instructors by now, you still need someone to teach you the fundamental concepts of God's oracles. You need milk, not solid food, since everyone who lives on milk is a child who is untrained in the word of righteousness. Solid food, on the other hand, is for the mature, for people who have developed their powers of discernment to separate good from evil through regular practice. (Hebrews 5:12, 14)
Consider a grown guy who should be teaching others sipping from a sippy cup and enrolling in pre-school again. That is how the author of the letter to the Hebrews portrayed the recipients of his letter spiritually. They had been under the ministry of the word for a long time, but they were still children unfortunately. Have you experienced something similar? Three scriptural symptoms that you may be spiritually immature are as follows:
Spiritually immature Christians are gullible to strange doctrines.
God sends us pastors and instructors to build us up in the word so that “we may no longer be children, tossed about by the waves and swept about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes,” as Paul informed the Ephesians (Eph. 4:14).
I spent some time in the ocean as a kid growing up near the shore. Few things are more unnerving than witnessing a massive set of waves coming straight at you when you're just four feet tall! I recall being swept away by a wave and tossed beneath the water's surface on a few occasions. It's perplexing! Believers who are spiritually immature are like small children in the surf, easily thrown off by waves of erroneous theology. If you're a spiritual child, you'll notice that your faith is challenged every time a new teaching or doctrine comes up.
Certain perceptions we have about God often develop as we grow in faith, yet the spiritually immature are defined by instability. They change their minds with each new book or blog post they read, depending on which direction the wind is blowing. The waves and storms of strange teachings don't knock us down as much as they used to when we grow up in that gospel.
Spiritually immature Christians aren't able to play nice with other believers.
With four children under the age of seven, I've discovered that certain phrases are frequently repeated when taking your children to the park: “Don't take it, it's not yours!”; “Make sure you share!”; “It's her turn to go down the slide now!”; “Don't bite!” Children, especially those who are spiritually immature, must learn to get along with one another. The Corinthians were told by Paul,
But, brothers, I was unable to approach you as spiritual beings, but rather as fleshly beings, as infants in Christ. I fed you milk instead of solid meals since you weren't ready. Even now, you are not ready, because you are still flesh. Are you not of the flesh and acting in a human manner while there is jealously and rivalry among you? (1 Corinthians 3:1-3)
Strife between us and our brothers and sisters in Jesus is a sure evidence of spiritual immaturity. We respond when they offend us by hurting them with our words (to them or to others about them), or by ending the connection totally. Instead of rejoicing with other believers when things go well, we're envious that it occurred to them and not to us. As a result, others in the church are viewed with contempt. In the spiritually immature, there is a dreadful selfishness that presents itself, and if left uncontrolled, it leads to shattered relationships and even church splits. You may be a “baby in Christ” if you can't forgive people or resolve conflict with your family in Christ.
Spiritually immature Christians are controlled by their fleshly impulses.
Paul linked being a fleshly newborn in Christ to being a fleshly infant (1 Cor. 3:1-3). He described the works of the flesh as these in a letter to the Galatians “enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies” sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies” (Gal. 5:19-21). This list isn't meant to be comprehensive, but it provides you a fair indication of what Paul was thinking about. Spiritually immature people, like a tiny child who doesn't get his way and throws a tantrum, give in to their carnal desires rather than yielding them to God and developing self-control. These instincts are in direct opposition to our new identity as baptized disciples of Jesus. Spiritual infants have a hard time walking in the Spirit (Gal. 5:16), and they lack the fruit of Christian maturity (Gal. 5:22-24). Of course, all baptized Christians deal with this for the rest of their Christian lives, but if we find ourselves succumbing to outbursts of rage, sensuous conduct, envy, or other vices on a regular basis, it is an indication that we are drifting away from God “Fleshly people, babes in Christ” (1 Cor. 3:1).
Christian maturity, like any other type of development, takes time. The mature, according to the author of Hebrews, are people who have their abilities of discernment honed through repeated exercise. Training and regular practice are lifetime activities, and if we ignore them, we'll be bound to a spiritual infancy in which we'll be restless, unable to get along with others, and unable to manage our desires. If you think God will one day transform you from a toddler to a teacher, you're mistaken. Make the most of the resources God has provided to help you grow in your faith. Make prayer, personal Bible study, and, especially, fellowship in the local church under the preaching of the word a habit. Attend to that word with humility and eagerness to receive it for yourself. When you make this a daily habit, you'll notice that your feet are securely planted in the truth, your hands are open to brothers and sisters in need, and your heart is moved more by God's Holy Spirit than by carnal inclinations. Let's keep moving forward, brothers and sisters!
What is the meaning of spiritual maturity?
Whether we want to or not, we all mature physically. Spiritual maturity, on the other hand, is not assured. While the phrase “spiritual maturity” is most commonly associated with Christianity, the ideas of spiritual maturity may be found in all religious and wisdom traditions. The following are some examples of spiritual maturity:
The progressive development of healthy and life-giving relationships with oneself, others, and the environment.
Most of us want to learn how to relate to ourselves and others in healthy ways so that we can all feel connected, at peace, and happy for a long time. Spiritual maturity is a process that takes time. In order to reap the benefits, it takes intention, time, and work.
Do you have any doubts about what it takes to be spiritually mature? Here are a few indicators that you're on the correct track.
What are the dangers of immaturity?
Immaturity can present itself both mentally and physically, such as an inability to understand or follow directions, or physically, such as performing heavy, rigorous work that can lead to musculoskeletal diseases in underdeveloped muscles and bones.
What are the signs of lack of spiritual growth?
Knowing and comprehending the need for spiritual growth is the first step. However, you will not work in that direction if you do not feel the need to improve. As a result, the first and most obvious indicator is that you don't feel compelled to progress. (You might also be interested in: How to Detox Your Soul.)
We are all aware that our lives are full with stress and distractions. Therefore, if you are continually stressed or busy, you will not have time to grow spiritually or experience spiritual growth. (Also see: What are some daily routines that can help you develop inner serenity.)
Occasionally, you may experience a spiritual disconnect as a result of an event in your life. This prevents you from exploring your spiritual side, and you miss out on spiritual growth as a result. (Also see: How God Communicates With Us During Difficult Times)
Many people are influenced by negative forces in society and engage in heinous behavior. Your mental process is defined by your firm, thus if your company is awful, you are not spiritually progressing. (See also: Does spirituality have a place in today's fast-paced world?)
Spiritual connection entails letting go of your attachment to the material world. If you have such an addiction, it signifies you are not spiritually progressing.
What is spiritual maturity according to the Bible?
Paul frequently employs the word teleios (which can be interpreted as spiritual maturity) when discussing spiritual maturity “Perfect,” “Complete,” or “Maturity”). Paul longs for, in Ephesians 4:13, “attain to the oneness of the faith and knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature person, to the full stature of Christ.” Spiritual maturity, on the other hand, is not only an individual aim in the letter to the Ephesians, but a goal for the entire body of Christ. In his book Aiming at Maturity: The Goal of the Christian Life, Stephen Rankin defines “a spiritually mature Christian whose entire personality, including dispositions, words, and deeds, resembles that of Jesus Christ.” Paul exhorts the Ephesus church in Ephesians 5:1-2 to “As beloved children, imitate God and walk in love, just as Christ loved and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.” As they strive to mimic God and live out Christ's love, all Christians should strive for spiritual growth.
I've been the pastor of the Mooreville United Methodist Charge, a combination of three tiny, rural churches in Lee County, Mississippi, since June of 2016. The congregations are largely elderly folks, while two of the churches include a few young families. The ethnic makeup is Caucasian, which closely resembles Mooreville's community. The churches share a pastor and a few ministries, such as the children and youth program and the United Methodist Women.
How do we grow in spiritual maturity?
Wife, author, boss, friend, daughter, teacher, professional coffee drinker, and now mama are just a few of the hats I wear. For over two years, I've been giggling at this parenthood thing. I've had twenty months of the most life-altering, heart-wrenching, joy-filled, bone-weary job I've ever had… and I've loved every minute of it.
During my pregnancy, I distinctly recall being terrified of the enormous responsibility that would soon be placed in my hands. I was terrified at the prospect of raising a child without completely ruining her. “I feel more capable of being air-dropped into Afghanistan and finding my way out in the middle of a Taliban fire war than I do of parenting a child,” I told a friend.
God does not wait for us to be ready to stretch us before he stretches us. Whether I was prepared or not, my full-fledged education into the realm of parenthood began in November of 2016. I've discovered that He equips us even while we're in the thick of a mess. Now that I'm well into motherhood, I've learned that it's not something you can learn from a book; it's a hands-on, learn-as-you-go, trial-and-error process.
I'll be honest, every three months when we take Sydney to her pediatrician for her visit, I expect her to hand me a lollypop and a sticker because…
I'm joking, but it's true. For all the restless nights and countless prayers imploring Jesus to take the wheel, the infant gets shots, and we get nothing.
The best part about going to the pediatrician every three months is understanding what developmental milestones Sydney should hit at each stage. My doctor even gives me a checklist of things to look for and how to deal with different situations.
The anticipation of a youngster is that he or she will grow. Over the course of a few months, newborns grow from defenseless 8-pound infants to 28-pound toddlers intent on destroying everything in their path. I can't help but think about spiritual maturity as I've watched my little girl grow from infancy to the great adventure of toddlerhood. Our Heavenly Father rejoices as we grow and mature in our faith, just as a good parent rejoices when their kid develops new talents.
Spiritual maturity is the expected, not the exception, for all Christians, according to the Bible.
We are “born again” into God's family and then begin to mature as God's children, just as a newborn is born and then begins to grow. Despite the fact that this is the expectation, many Christians become stuck and stagnate in their faith.
The Apostle Peter describes seven “spiritual milestones” that should increase in our life if we are truly children of God in 2 Peter chapter 1. These anniversaries aren't meant to be a legalistic checklist on which we attempt to improve. These characteristics, on the other hand, show that a person is spiritually maturing.
Through our awareness of him who called us by his own glory and goodness, his divine power has given us everything we need for a holy life. He has given us his most significant and precious promises through them, so that you may share in the divine nature while avoiding the pollution in the world caused by sinful impulses.
Make every effort to add goodness to your faith, and goodness to knowledge, and knowledge to self-control, and self-control to perseverance, and perseverance to godliness, and godliness to mutual affection, and mutual affection to love. Because if you increase your possession of these traits, you will be less ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Whoever does not have them, on the other hand, is nearsighted and shortsighted, forgetting that their past offenses have been forgiven.
Make every attempt, dear brothers and sisters, to affirm your calling and election. Because if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will be warmly welcomed into our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ's eternal kingdom.
Born-again believers should evolve spiritually beyond their first conversion, much as my daughter Sydney no longer acts like an infant but has progressed to a healthy and busy toddler. The traits stated in 2 Peter as evidence of this progress include “faith, kindness, knowledge, self-control, holiness, and love.” Surprisingly, I've encountered teenagers who are spiritually more developed than some of the older adults I've met. Spiritual maturity has nothing to do with our age; it is entirely about our ability to grow in our relationship with God. If you've read this far, I'm guessing you're someone who wants to grow in her faith. Here are five spiritual growth keys that I'm working on in my own life:
1. The WordIn 1 Peter, we're instructed that drinking the “pure milk of God's word” helps us develop in faith. The analogy is clear, and one that I've personally observed. Milk is given to infants, and the consequence is a remarkable metamorphosis! Simply drinking milk causes those tiny fingers and toes, legs and limbs to expand, stretch, and develop! It's no accident that the Bible refers to itself as “pure milk” for spiritual development. A believer must feed herself the Word of God on a regular basis in order to progress in her faith. Going to church or Bible study once a week is insufficient. That would be the same of eating a meal on Sunday and then going hungry for the rest of the week. If we want to grow and deepen in our faith, we must feed ourselves the Word of God on a daily basis.
2. Christ-centered Community I can attest from personal experience that nothing has helped me grow spiritually more than being around by other Christ-followers who love Jesus, fear God, and want to live for His glory. We encourage accountability, we are challenged to know God better, and we have relationships with others who will pray for us when we face hardships or temptations when we surround ourselves with a Christ-centered community. Indeed, we are stronger when we work together.
3. Walk in the Spirit – Jesus referred to the Holy Spirit as our “Assistant.”
He is the one who walks alongside us and supports us when we are weak. The Holy Spirit is the one who changes us from the inside out so that we might act, think, and love as Jesus did. God's Spirit develops us and produces Christ-like attributes in us as we stay in step with Him. We must continually ask the Holy Spirit to lead, guide, and direct our steps, and to conform us to Christ's image.
4. Surrender – The only way to win in the Kingdom of God is to surrender. We can only begin to live the abundant life Jesus promised when we yield to God's will and walk in His ways. We begin to manifest the fruit of the Spirit when we surrender our will to God's will. Surrendering to God is what obedience entails. We mature and grow as a result of these surrendering moments. “Physical maturity is connected to time,” argues John Bevere. “Obedience is a prerequisite for spiritual maturation.”
5. Humility – Pride is the greatest significant impediment to spiritual progress. Pride deceives us into believing that we are doing fine. Instead of gazing at Jesus' perfection, pride compares itself to someone else. Our pride makes us blind to our flaws. Humility, on the other hand, is essential for maturity because it keeps us living in daily desperation for Jesus and clinging to Him for everything. “Apart from Jesus, I can do nothing,” the mature person knows.
As a mother, I'm inclined to clutch my child and hope she'd never grow up. Then I remember all of the amazing things Jesus has planned for her, and I realize that, as much as I enjoy the cuddles and sweetness that come with this age, I want her to blossom into a mature lady who loves Jesus and lives for His glory.
Friends, we are in the same boat. As we grow in our faith, the whole of heaven is rooting for us. As we grow from infants to great women of God capable of leading, teaching, and shepherding others, God, our Heavenly Father, watches over us and loves us.
What is immaturity in Christianity?
“And He must not be a fresh convert, in order to avoid being conceited and falling into the devil's condemnation.” 3:6 – 1 Timothy (AMP)
A “me” attitude is another characteristic of infancy. It's all about “my,” my viewpoint, my promotion, my gift, my method of doing things, and so on. Pride, whatever it is, is always looking for attention. Even if a newborn or child requires attention, they may believe that they should be able to get or do whatever they want, and when they are not, they cry or throw a tantrum. Some Christians are in the same boat. Pride devalues others while elevating oneself. Furthermore, it focuses on receiving rather than giving to others, and when they don't get what they want, they become enraged, upset, or disheartened. This type of individual fails to assess oneself and forgets that Jesus calls his followers to deny themselves. That signifies you're no longer self-centered and are instead focused on others. This isn't to say that you don't look after yourself; rather, you know that others don't have the same relationship with God as you do, so you focus on blessing others rather than expecting yourself to be blessed. This is what maturity looks like. It's maturing to the point that you're no longer reliant on others or your own strength, status, or wealth; instead, you become more reliant on God and his power. Furthermore, you no longer require as much attention and begin to devote it to others because they are still in the stage of infancy where people want special attention. Don't wait to be loved before loving others; unconditional love isn't named that for nothing.
That being said, these are just a handful of the qualities associated with immaturity and maturity. Anyway, God wants you to grow up to be a Christian; we'll never be perfect, but it's another step toward being the people he made us to be, people who bear his image and likeness.
What are the benefits of spiritual maturity?
Spiritual development improves our ability to deal with life's ups and downs and recover from adversity. It's all too easy to judge and criticize others, but as we grow spiritually, we discover how much healthier it is to build compassion and empathy for others.