Summary: Ever have someone tell you to grow up? The bible has some things to say about the necessity for spiritual maturity.
INTRODUCTION: Ever have someone tell you to grow up? Boys seem to have this problem more than girls. I guess because girls are supposed to mature faster. Whatever. I’m sure if there are any big sisters here today and you have little brothers you were probably telling them that on a daily basis. We go through an adolescent stage where we act goofy and immature. But, by the time we’re adults we are supposed to have outgrown that and have transcended into maturity. But, time doesn’t automatically produce maturity. I’ve sure you can think of plenty of adults who still act like children. It’s like the bumper sticker that reads, “I may be getting older, but I refuse to grow up.” The bible has some things to say about the necessity for spiritual maturity. Let’s take a look at that.
1) Why should I grow? Why is it important for me to focus on spiritual maturity?
A) So I can know God’s will. Romans 12:2, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will.” We want to know God’s will but are not willing to do what he asks in order for that to happen. Being committed to spiritual growth will enable me to better decipher God’s will from my own. It will enable me to accept God’s will for my life. If we are going to be discerning and know God’s will then we need to be about spiritual growth which is what being transformed is all about. And if we’re going to accomplish spiritual maturity we need to take to heart what it says in verse 11, “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” I need to grow so I can know God’s will.
B) So that I won’t be led astray. 2nd Peter 3:15-18. Peter points out that some of Paul’s writings are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable (immature) people distort. Therefore, we need to be guarded to against being led astray by the error of twisted scripture. Satan is good at mixing his lies with a little truth. He knows how to twist scripture. He tried to use it against Jesus in the desert. Satan wants to confuse and deceive me with fine sounding arguments. We counter that and guard ourselves against that by committing to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus. 2nd Cor. 11:3, “But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.” Satan wants to lead me astray by telling me lies: lies about God; lies about myself. If he can lure me away through deception or temptation and drive a wedge between me and God he will. But, if I stay consistent in my growth, by increasing my understanding of God’s grace and increase my knowledge about Christ and his love and will for me then I will be less apt to be caught in the trap of the devil. I need to grow so that I won’t be led astray.
C) So that I won’t fall away. If we allow ourselves to be led astray, eventually that turns into us falling away. Hebrews 5:11-6:6. The writer is very concerned about the lack of seriousness among the Hebrews. He warns them what will happen if they don’t become motivated to move beyond the elementary truths of the faith. If we don’t have zeal for spiritual growth we run the risk of falling away from God. If we don’t grow up, we’ll grow cold. Heb. 2:1, “We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we’ve heard, so that we do not drift away.” We need to be careful, lest we fall away. We need to make sure we don’t get too comfortable where we are in our spiritual walk. We need to make sure we don’t lose interest in becoming spiritually mature. Backsliding is usually a subtle thing and it can happen to us and we will not realize it. Jerry White said, “No one is so empty as the one who has stopped walking with God and doesn’t know it.” We need to be committed to becoming spiritually mature so that we don’t fall away.
2) How can I grow? What do I need in order to become spiritually mature?
A) Desire. Spiritual maturity is a choice. I have to choose to be dedicated and apply what I learn. Spiritual maturity isn’t something that happens automatically. Being a Christian for 20 years does not mean I’m automatically going to be more mature than the one who’s been a Christian for only five years. I have to have then desire and passion to know God more intimately and his word more deeply. 1st Peter 1:15-16, 2:1-3. Peter calls for followers of Jesus to be holy (vs. 16). Therefore (2:1), we need to get rid of the things that get in the way of our pursuit of holiness. Now that we have realized that the Christian life is the one we desire (2:3), we need to crave (desire) the pure, spiritual milk which is the word of God. We need to be hungry so we can grow up (mature) in our salvation.