Summary: A Spiritually Mature Christian is: 1. Positive under PRESSURE. 2. Sensitive to the needs of other PEOPLE. 3. A PEACEMAKER not a troublemaker. 4. PATIENT. 5. PRAYERFUL.
Five Marks Of A Spiritually Mature Christian
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. Second Peter chapter three verse eighteen tells us to:
“Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 3:18 (NASV)
Did you know that it is God’s will that every Christian becomes 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 the aging process.
B. Spiritual maturity is not a matter of APPEARANCE.
Some people can 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. You know the saying – “you can’t judge a book by its cover.” Spiritual maturity is not a matter of what a person looks or sounds like on the outside – it is a matter of what has taken place on the inside. God is in the process of transforming us into the image of His Son.
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 CHARACTER.
Character makes a difference. It’s character that counts. 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 character that determines who you are. Today I want to give you five marks of what it means to grow to spiritual maturity. Let’s look at the first mark:
1. A spiritual mature person is positive under PRESSURE.
Let’s look and see what James tells us in chapter one:
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:2-4 (NKJV)
Do you seek spiritual maturity? Do you seek to be complete in Christ? If you do – James tells us to have a positive attitude when it comes to pressure. He tells us to “count it all joy when you fall into various trials.”
All of us have problems in this life – all of us have trials – all of us have situations that are not good. How do you handle them? How do you deal with being dealt a dead hand? Do your problems blow you out of the water? Do you get up-tight? Do you grumble and gripe? Do you get negative or nervous? The first test of spiritual maturity is – how do you act positive under pressure? Remember the Bible says: “Count it all joy when you fall into various trials.”