This is an excellent article. I'd add the “angry prophet” mentality or the “righteously offended” attitude as a false indicator of spiritual maturity. When “mature” believers express hatred or anger toward believers and non-believers who sin (intentionally or unintentionally), it demonstrates a lack of maturity and a general connection from God's heart. My understanding is that as we grow older, sin should break rather than outrage our hearts. Our talks with those who are trapped in sin should be filled with tears and hope, not yelling and judgment. Something is amiss in our hearts if leaders can't talk about the immorality that is destroying those they claim to love without crying.
Before You Continue...
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What are signs of spiritual maturity?
All of the great spiritual traditions encourage people to care for others who are less fortunate. It is quite easy to tune out the voices of the weak as we go about our daily lives. The spiritually mature individual is always conscious of the poor's needs and is motivated to act on their behalf. They recognize that in order for a society to be healthy, it must care for its most vulnerable members.
What is the meaning of spiritual maturity?
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.
What are the hindrances to spiritual growth?
Yes, this is on the to-do list. One of the most significant barriers between man and God is this. The consequences of sin were so severe that God had no choice but to send his own son. That's a major matter! Spiritual growth equals becoming like Christ, which means that if you truly want to progress, you can't keep living in sin (1John 1;6)
Some interactions with specific people or groups of people can cause you to compromise on key issues, which can stifle your growth. Good morals are corrupted by bad company (1 Corinthians 15:33), and those around you have the ability to affect you. If you want to grow, your circle is important.
One of the seven deadly sins is this. We rarely notice it since it is so subtle. Laziness 2.0 is slothfulness. God has given you strength, but if you are slothful, you will not be able to use it to grow.
This is something I am very guilty of. Life's demands, assignments, duties and responsibilities, a hefty school schedule, and so on We can become so engaged in these activities that we lose sight of the most vital and fundamental aspect of our lives, which is our connection with Jesus. Our relationship with our father, like all partnerships, takes time, work, and effort. To grow, one must set aside time.
DEPENDING ON YOUR OWN STRENGHT:
To tell you the truth, you can't grow on your own. Trying to tackle it on your own can only result in exhaustion. Although your active participation is essential, God still works in you to will and do according to his good pleasure (Philippians 2:13), thus you must grow with the Holy Spirit's assistance.
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On a typical day, there are numerous things that demand our attention. One of the most significant impediments to spiritual development is distraction. It prevents you from developing a relationship with God because whenever you try, something or someone arises to divert your focus away from the crucial task at hand.
As Christians, we are confronted with numerous challenges. Nonetheless, God has endowed us with the potential to thrive; all we have to do now is recognize the roadblocks and devise strategies to overcome them.
What are some of the things that can stifle spiritual development? Let's have a discussion in the comments section.
What are the 9 spiritual gifts of God?
A spiritual gift, also known as a charism (plural: charisms or charismata; Greek singular: charisma, plural: charismata), is a supernatural ability bestowed by the Holy Spirit. Followers think that these are supernatural graces that individual Christians require (and that were required in the days of the Apostles) in order to fulfill the Church's mission. In the strictest sense, it is a theological word for the special graces bestowed on individual Christians for the benefit of others, as opposed to personal sanctification graces such as the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit and the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
The word of knowledge, enhanced faith, healing gifts, miraculous gifts, prophecy, spirit discernment, various kinds of tongues, and tongue interpretation are examples of these skills, which are often referred to as “charismatic gifts.” The gifts of apostles, prophets, teachers, aids (associated with service to the destitute and sick), and governments (or leadership abilities) are also associated with various Church ministries. Individuals are given these gifts by the Holy Spirit, but their mission is to build up the entire Church. They're mentioned in the New Testament, namely in 1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12, and Ephesians 4. Spiritual gifts are also mentioned in 1 Peter 4.
The gifts are tied to both “natural” and “miraculous” abilities, both of which are empowered by the Holy Spirit. The two primary theological viewpoints on their nature are that they have long since ceased or that they continue (Cessationism versus Continuationism).
It is a kindness if the righteous strike (correct) me. It is oil on the head; do not let my head refuse it; for my prayer continues to be against their evil deeds.
- Do I value this kind of correction? This psalmist regarded it as a form of charity, and he saw it as a path to spiritual maturation.
- Do I not just welcome, but actively seek out, criticism? I will never learn without it, and I will remain spiritually immature.
“Getwisdom is the beginning of knowledge!” And while you're at it, learn as much as you can.
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Understanding, knowledge, and maturity will come to me as I actively pursue spiritual insight.
- Do I have a clear picture of my future? Then I must actively seek spiritual assistance from God and spiritually inclined friends.
When tests and obstacles come at you from all sides, think of it as a gift. You're well aware that when you're under duress, your faith life is forced into the open and reveals its true colors. As a result, don't try to pull out of anything too soon. Allow it to perform its job so that you grow up to be mature and well-developed, not lacking in any manner.
Do I allow pressure to do its work in order to mature? Or do I usually try to cut it short or leave it too soon?
Fight for it
He grabbed his brother's heel in their mother's womb, and as he grew older, he wrestled with God.
To “struggle to overcome” is to contend. It needs maturity to strive with God and wrestle with Him.
So neat and tidy! Remove all hate and pretense, envy, and harsh speech. You've gotten a whiff of God. Drink deeply of God's pure compassion now, as if you were a newborn at the breast. Then you'll mature and be complete in God.
Do I make a complete repentance of my sin? Is it better if I leave the dust and cobwebs behind? If I am to mature and experience God's “pure compassion,” I must be radical in my repentance and change.
- What exactly do I need to “clean up”? What sins do I have in my heart that I haven't confessed?
Don't go it alone
I'm praying not just for them, but also for people who will come to trust in me as a result of their testimony. The goal is for them all to have one heart and mindjust as you, Father, are in me and I am in youso that they can be one heart and mind with us. The world might assume you sent me if that happens. I gave them the same glory you gave me, so they'll be as united and united as we areI in them, you in me. Then they'll be grown in their oneness, and they'll show the godless world that you sent me and loved them as much as you loved me.
- Do you try to bring your friends and family together? Or do you let unifying sins like jealousy, pride, or bitterness dwell in your heart and relationships?
Stop making it about myself
Why does he endow us with specific qualities that enable us to excel in certain tasks? It is that God's people would be better equipped to accomplish better service for him, strengthening and maturing the Church, the body of Christ;
God equips me with the skills and abilities I need to help his church mature and grow. Is it true that I'm doing my part?
- It isn't simply about me choosing to mature and grow. If I don't grow, my body won't be able to expand.
That is precisely what Jesus accomplished. He didn't make things easy for himself by avoiding other people's problems; instead, he jumped right in and offered assistance. According to Scripture, “I took on the afflictions of the disturbed.” Even if it was written thousands of years ago in Scripture, you can be sure it was written for us. God wants the combination of his ongoing calling and warm, personal counsel in Scripture to become a part of our identity, putting us on the lookout for what he will do next. May our dependable, warmly personal God help you mature so that you can get along with one another as well as Jesus does with us all. Then we'll be a choirnot just our voices, but our entire lives singing in unison in a magnificent anthem to our Master Jesus' God and Father!
Do I take on other people's problems or do I try to make my own life easier? God is maturing me so that I might assist others.
- Because he recognized that his life was broader than himself, Jesus did not make things simple for himself. If I make the maturation process all about me and don't see the need for me to “walk in and help out,” I'll just take shortcuts and make things easier on myself.
- Is it true that I use shortcuts? Then I have to decide whether I'm living for myself or for others.
What are the four stages of spiritual evolution?
In the field of spirituality, a lot of work has been done. Much of it has been around for a long time, but we are only now becoming aware of it. There are two primary reasons why much of the work is only now receiving the attention it deserves.
The first is the introduction of the internet. The internet aided in the discovery of fresh ideas in a variety of fields. As people began to upload more information online and search engines improved, more and more historical items were unearthed.
The second reason is that spirituality has become more acceptable among people. Celebrities are expressing their spirituality in greater numbers. As the emotional turmoil of our busy life becomes more intense, humanity is turning to spirituality for solace.
Reverend Michael Beckwith proposed four phases of consciousness and spiritual growth in 1984. When no one was even talking about it, it was decades ago. The structure he outlined is so pertinent and straightforward that a path for our spiritual journey appears to develop. The Agape Institute, based in Beverly Hills, California, was founded by Michael Bernard Beckwith. He preaches in the local church and offers spiritual guidance to those who need it.
Michael Beckwith was a pioneer in the spirituality and positivity movement. He starred in the film The Secret and went on to appear on programmes like The Oprah Winfrey Show and Larry King Live. He's also a popular Mindvalley instructor who teaches the “Life Visioning” Masterclass. His Spirituality teachings and ideas resonate with a wide range of individuals and are easy to comprehend.
Let's get started with the four phases of Spirituality or Consciousness without further ado. They are as follows:
The map to consciousness is provided by these four steps. We need to chart the level of consciousness we are in right now through introspection of our life. It's crucial to realize that these stages are all non-linear, which means we could be in different stages in different aspects of our lives while you go through this activity.
For example, in terms of my health, I may be in the victim stage, while in terms of my career, I may be in the channeler stage. When determining whatever stage we are in, it is critical to be honest with ourselves. Let's take a closer look at each stage so you can get a better understanding of them.
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 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 more do you need to mature in the faith?
We take our three children to gymnastics class every Friday morning. Because school is usually in session at that time, the gym is eerily silent, with only toddler and pre-school sessions. During the holidays, however, large groups of children are sent to gymnastics camps, which take over the gym and relegate the younger children to dusty mats in the corner. One of these days was Friday.
Bryan was in charge of Alexa's parent-tot class, so I sat on the mezzanine and watched everything. There were roughly 200 kids of all ages in the gym, all of them were enrolled in different classes based on their abilities. I had a fascinating perspective on how children progress in gymnastics over time.
I could see little children learning to jump with two feet, elementary school children learning to cartwheel, middle school children learning to back handspring, and high school students learning to do fancy balancing beam flips that I had only seen in the Olympics at a glance.
This scene made me think about the different levels of Christian maturity. While we all appear to be grownups when we sit in church, our spiritual maturity levels are similar to the image I got of infants on trampolines alternating with pre-Olympic athletes.
In his first letter to the Corinthians, the apostle Paul utilized the spiritual infant comparison, writing, “I couldn't address you as spiritual but worldly – mere infants in Christ since I couldn't address you as such. I gave you milk instead of solid meals since you weren't ready…” (Colossians 3:12)
Christianity is not merely a passive belief system that leads to salvation. We are called to grow in our religion over the course of our lives.
2 Peter 1:38 (NIV): “…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 brotherly kindness; and brotherly kindness to love; and brotherly kindness 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.” (italics mine)
Spiritual maturity is defined as an increase in measure. The moment we accept Jesus as our Lord, we are not gifted instantaneous Christ-like lives. We are the ones who are in charge of development.
However, the concept of spiritual maturity might be a little hazy at times. So, where do you begin? So, what are your options? What difference will it make? I can't begin to answer these vital questions in a single blog article, but the situation at gymnastics led me to provide three basic steps to a more inspired and mature spiritual life in 2013.
What are some hindrance to prayer?
The first is a lack of prayer. If we don't pray, it's pointless to pray. “God forbid that I should offend against the Lord by neglecting to pray for you,” says I Samuel 12:23. Stopping to pray, Samuel believed, was a sin against God.
“That situation in which one prays less than one ought, less than the Father desires, and less than one himself knows he should,” says Jack Taylor. Are you guilty of the sin of not praying?
The second reason is a lack of effort. Our prayer life is hampered by lazy praying. Persecution pushed the church to frequent, serious prayer, according to Acts 12:1-11. This text describes a miracle that occurred as a result of prayer. Are we slackers when it comes to prayer?
Finally, there are selfish motives (James 4:3). Despite the fact that the Bible instructs us to present our petitions to God, we must be careful not to make self-serving demands. Selfish praying, according to Hunt, jeopardizes the fulfillment of God's objectives. God-centered, kingdom-focused prayer is about wanting God's will to be done, not our own.
Fourth, there is a lack of faith (James 1:6-8). Strengthening your prayer life necessitates growing your faith. We don't believe because we feel God doesn't keep His promises.
God's character is the polar opposite of wavering, because God does not change. God expects us to believe not just that He is capable of answering our prayers, but also that He will. Never be concerned that what we're asking is too big or too difficult.
Not abiding in Christ is the fifth sin (John 15:7). Our prayer life is enriched by a constant, passionate contact with Christ. The vine and branches metaphor was used by Jesus to stress the need of maintaining a vital link that provides nourishment and indicates entire reliance. Are you a follower of Christ?
The sixth point is our sin and rebellion (Isaiah 59:2). Our selfish pride is the source of sin. “If I regard evil in my heart, the Lord will not hear,” says Psalm 66:18. The Psalmist highlights how our inner resistance prevents us from praying. Unconfessed and ignored sin was also a hindrance for Isaiah. Our prayers are hampered when we choose disobedience.
Seventh, a spirit that is unforgiving. Prayer is hampered when people refuse to follow biblical conflict resolution guidelines. What exactly did Jesus have to say? Matthew 5:23-24 is a good place to start. We must ask people for forgiveness and forgive those who have wronged us.
When we refuse to forgive, we are not only disobeying a precise instruction from Jesus, but we are also harming our prayer lives.
We also poison our lives. Living on this side of eternity undoubtedly brings us into contact with flawed individuals who occasionally hurt us, yet bitterness simmering in our hearts will ultimately destroy us. Forgiveness benefits both the forgiver and the forgiven.
The eighth reason is a lack of perseverance (Luke 11:5-13). Persistence was a lesson imparted by Jesus. God is always at work around us; He just doesn't seem to act as quickly as we would want. Don't give up easily. Continue to pray and persevere. Continue knocking.
God is waiting for you, number nine. God is patiently awaiting your response. “No good thing will He withhold from them who walk uprightly,” says Psalm 84:11. Do we live in a state of disobedience? It's possible that God is refusing to answer your prayers to bring you back into alignment with His plan and intentions.
ten, erroneous inquiry (James 4:3). God's definition of a good item may differ from ours. God's timing is superior to our own. “If you, who are bad, know how to give good gifts to your children,” Matthew 7:11 says, “how much more will your father in heaven give good things to those who ask Him?” We must trust God as our wonderfully good heavenly Father because He has our best interests at heart.
When our prayers go unanswered, what should we do? Begin by evaluating our hearts to see if there are any impediments that are acting against us. Remove all obstacles and never stop praying.