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.
Before You Continue...
Do you know what is your soul number? Take this quick quiz to find out! Get a personalized numerology report, and discover how you can unlock your fullest spiritual potential. Start the quiz now!
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.
What does spiritually mature mean?
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.
How do you know if you are spiritually mature?
Love isn't something we just offer to other people. Healthy self-love is also a spiritually evolved person's practice.
It implies accepting that having boundaries and limits are acceptable; that it is acceptable to refuse to be treated badly or walked on; and that it is acceptable to prioritize your needs over the wishes and desires of others.
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 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.
What is spiritual growth biblically?
Spiritual growth is unquestionably a process of progress in Christ. During the refinement process, God will provide you with the power and grace you need to grow. The Bible depicts spiritual refinement as a journey, as seen by the following Scripture verses:
- “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well,” Jesus says to God's children (Matthew 6:33).
- “Being confident of this, that he who started a good work in you will see it through until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).
- Growth in Christ entails working out our sanctification within the church of Christ, not merely as an individual activity. “As a result, Christ himself gave apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers to train his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up” (Ephesians 4:11-12).
What is meant by spiritual growth?
Spiritual development entails letting go of false and unreal conceptions, thoughts, beliefs, and ideas in order to become more conscious and aware of our inner selves.
This method reveals the inner spirit that has always existed but has been veiled beneath the ego-personality.
Spiritual development is the process of inner awakening, of rising above ordinary, everyday living and of awakening to Universal truths. It entails going beyond the mind and ego to discover who you truly are.
How do you recognize a spiritual person?
The first evidence of a spiritual person is their lack of fear. When you have a fear or a chronic worry, that fear takes over your life and you are unable to be in the present moment. Fear of public speaking, fear of heights, and fear of bugs are the three most common fears among Americans. Many people, however, are terrified of death, rejection, loneliness, failure, illness, or making poor judgments. Spiritual people understand how to yield to forces beyond their control. In this way, they are similar to children in that they know how to ignore their minds and live fearlessly.
What are the steps to spiritual growth?
There are four factors to keep in mind when addressing the dynamic of the spiritual life, according to a recent webinar on the Stages of Spiritual Growth and Freedom. She connected these ideas to one's personal growth, as well as how spiritual direction might help with this.
The Definition of the Human Person
Victoria led guests through a synthesis of Catholic teachings on the human person, beginning with an introduction to anthropology anchored on Scripture and Church Tradition. “Then God said: Let us make human beings in our image, after our likeness,” says Genesis 1:26. Man is created “Imago Dei,” in the image and likeness of God. The fact that we were made in the image and likeness of God, who is a communion of people in the Holy Trinity, is the foundation of our fundamental dignity as human beings. We are earthy creatures (i.e., we have a physical body) with a spiritual nature, implying that we were created for something more than this life. Indeed, we were created for someone greater than this life, God himself. We were made to have relationships with God and our fellow humans.
Dynamism of Holiness
In light of this anthropology, Victoria described how attaining divine beatitude, or eternal existence with God in paradise, fulfills our dignity as human beings. We are on a dynamic, though gradual, path toward relationship with God as we go through life. Victoria described how the people of the Old Testament, as well as many figures from the Gospels, experienced the journey to God in stages, based on the Scriptures. God gradually exposes himself to the people of Israel throughout redemption history, and finally fully in the Incarnation of his Son, Jesus Christ. God exposes himself to us in prayer and in our response to his grace using the same approach. Our journey to holiness is a long one, made possible solely by God's grace.
Spiritual Growth and Progression
The purgative stage, the illuminative stage, and the unitive stage are the three stages of development that make up this steady expansion. While not entirely linear, these stages tend to reflect the stages of human development: childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. In the purgative stage, a person goes through his or her initial conversion and reacts to grace by turning away from sin and pursuing virtue. A condition of remembrance is included in the illuminative stage. In fact, “recollection,” or “continuous attention of the mind and emotions of the heart to thoughts and sentiments that elevate the soul to God,” is “the primary virtue of this state.” At this point, one begins to adopt Jesus Christ's thoughts and heart. Finally, the unitive stage is characterized by a person's experience of oneness with God through love, as well as the real experience and exercise of that love. Here, prayer takes on a more meditative tone, while virtue takes on a more mature, even heroic quality. St. Maximilian Kolbe, who gave his life for another prisoner during the Holocaust, is an example of this stage. He did so with heroism, courage, and peace, as well as humility and humility, demonstrating a high level of holiness and spiritual development.
The Role and Application of Spiritual Direction
A spiritual director can be beneficial and perhaps necessary at each of these levels to support one's spiritual progress. A director can be a source of inspiration in the purgative stage, encouraging the directee to take active steps away from sin and toward virtue. A director can assist you in seeing and identifying God's hand in your life during the illuminative period. Finally, at the unitive stage, the director can assist the directee in identifying growth nuances and staying on track.
Spiritual direction is an invaluable gift in the growth of one's spiritual life. If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a spiritual director, the Spiritual Direction Certificate Program provides a combination of theological and human sciences as they apply to spiritual direction, as well as acquiring the art and skills of human interactions and supervision. Six online seminars, two four-day onsite residencies, and a practicum are included in the curriculum.
What spirituality means?
Spirituality is defined as the awareness of a feeling, sense, or belief that there is something more to being human than sensory experience, and that the greater total of which we are a part is cosmic or divine in nature. True spirituality necessitates the opening of one's heart.