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(An Overview of James)
Without a doubt the biggest problem that we have in the church today is that of spiritual maturity. We get ourselves into all kinds of problems by saying immature things, by making immature decisions, by acting in immature ways. We need to become spiritually mature. We need to grow up.
Did you know that it is God’s will that every Christian become spiritually mature? It’s true! God wants us all to grow to spiritual maturity. In fact Paul scolds the Corinthian church for their lack of maturity. He treats them as if they are babies in Christ. Look at what the Bible says in First Corinthians chapter three:
“I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?” 1 Corinthians 3:2-3 (NKJV)
Paul tells them to grow up! God wants them to grow up – because spiritual immaturity causes all kinds of problems. God’s will for your life is spiritual maturity. One of the purposes of the church is to help you grow to spiritual maturity. What is spiritual maturity – let me start by telling you what it is not:
A. Spiritual maturity is not a matter of AGE.
Let me say up front – spiritual maturity does take time. It takes energy and it takes effort. No one becomes spiritually mature overnight. Even Jesus grew – as he grew up. Look at what the Bible says in Luke chapter two:
“Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” Luke 2:52 (NKJV)
But, (here is the warning), you can get older and not grow to spiritual maturity. It’s like the bumper sticker that says, “I may be getting older, but I refuse to grow up.” Some Christians refuse to grow up. I’ve seen 50 and 60 year old spiritual babies. Spiritual maturity involves much more than just aging.
B. Spiritual maturity is not a matter of APPEARANCE.
Some people look and sound spiritually mature – they know how to talk the talk – but question is – do they know how to walk the walk? Some people look holy – they seem to have heaven hovering around them – but that may just be appearance and not reality. Appearances can be deceiving. Spiritual maturity is not a matter of what a person looks or sounds like on the outside.
C. Spiritual maturity is not a matter of ACHIEVEMENT.
You know you can be recognized by all kinds of organizations but that does not make you spiritually mature. You can have all kinds of degrees and diplomas hanging on your wall but that is not spiritually mature either. Achievements are not a sure sign of spiritual maturity.
Spiritual maturity is a matter of ATTITUDE and CHARACTER.
Attitude and character make a difference. It’s attitude and character that count. D. L. Moody said, “Character is what you are in the dark.” Recognition is what people say about you. Character is what God knows about you. God says it’s your attitude and your character that determines who you are.
In the book of James we have a manual on spiritual maturity. James is a manual on how to become spiritually mature. Today we’re going to look at six marks of spiritual maturity. Let’s look at the first mark:
1. A spiritual mature person is positive under PRESSURE.
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