Christian Maturity: Part II

Natural Versus Spiritual Maturity

Natural maturity, being mature as a mental and physical human being, is not comparable to spiritual maturity.

A person’s age does not always indicate maturity in either the natural or spiritual realms, but spiritual maturity is measured primarily by such indicators as the “Fruit of the Holy Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-23) and other indicators of growth, including true humility and leadership.

For example, the Apostle Peter told Believers to put aside the sins of immaturity, such as malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander. Instead they needed to grow in respect to salvation by first receiving the pure “milk” of the Word.

Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord. (I Peter 2:1-3)

The writer of the Book of Hebrews (whom I believe was the Apostle Paul, or at least one of his disciples) is even more direct:

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil. (Hebrews 5:12-14)

The marks of the mature Christian, therefore, are clear. Mature Christians do not engage in sinful behaviors, and they also are obedient in following Christ’s instructions to teach and train new believers to become mature themselves.

Standing Firm

In addition, a number of admonitions from the Apostle Paul declare the power of not just resisting the captivity of sinfulness and temptation but also continuing to stand firm in the face of evil.

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1)

Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.  Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness. (Galatians 6:13-14))

Therefore, my beloved brethren whom I long to see, my joy and crown, in this way stand firm in the Lord, my beloved. (Philippians 4:1)

Standing firm means exercising patience and stability in spite of the temptations to give up or turn away from Christ Jesus’ teachings to “take up the cross daily” (Luke 9:23) or walk the narrow and straight pathway to Heaven (Matthew 7:14).

The Apostle Paul, for example, exhorted his disciple Timothy to

Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. (II Timothy 4:2)
Exercising patience is one of the keys to opening the doors to the promises of God:
. . .so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. (Hebrews 6:12)

Of these two enabling powers, faith and patience, the later is perhaps the most difficult, for it takes time to exercise patience. Too often we pray, “God, give me patience and give it to me now!” Consequently, like a child in the Walmart, impatient believers fall on the floor and cry because they cannot have the toys they have seen and want to take home. 

May the Lord reveal to us His paths to maturity as we seek to follow Him and obey the voice of the Holy Spirit!

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Please view this video of my message from July 13, 2014, on the subject of Spiritual Maturity:  Milk, Meat, or Metamucil?

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