Summary: How can I tell if I’m spiritually mature?
Why should I grow? Why is it important for us to focus on spiritual maturity? One reason is so I can know God’s will. Progressing in spiritual maturity will enable me to discern God’s will and it will allow me to approve of God’s will. I will see that God’s will is best. I also need to grow up so that I won’t be led astray. Satan wants to lead me astray by twisting the word of God. He will try to deceive me with things that sound reasonable, logical and true. Satan is subtle and he will try to pull me away little by little. He’ll try to get me to compromise on the things that will contribute toward my spiritual maturity. And if that carries on for too long, I run the risk of falling away completely. A little boy fell out of the bed in his sleep. His father picked him up and put him back in bed. He asked him, "Son, what happened?" The little boy responded, "I fell asleep too close to where I got in." I believe that describes too many Christians today. They have fallen asleep too close to where they got in. They have made so little progress since they were saved they’re still close to the edge and therefore, in danger of falling out. I need to be committed to spiritual growth so that these things don’t happen to me.
How can I grow? If I am going to grow I first need to recognize the need for it. It’s been said, “Growth begins when we begin to accept our own weakness.” Spiritual maturity is not automatic; it’s a choice. I need to be devoted to growth. I need to realize the benefit of it. I also need to have patience along with passion. I can be overzealous and try to run ahead of the Spirit. I need to understand that spiritual maturity is a process. And I need to realize that I’m going to need some help getting there. We are called to grow together as a unified body of believers. We need to pull together, sharpen one another and spur one another on toward love and good deeds. If I’m going to be spiritually mature I have to want it, be patient in my pursuit for it and seek help from others.
What stops the flow? What are some things that are going to try to hinder my spiritual growth? Sin will get in the way. If I’m getting caught up in sin I won’t be progressing in my walk with God. I have to be aware of how sin damages my relationship with God. When sin is prevalent in my life it’s like taking one step forward and two steps back. Doubt also stunts my spiritual growth. I might know I need to grow but doubt that I can. I’ll think the parts of the bible that talk about spiritual growth and maturity is out of reach for me. When I’m doing that, I’m listening to Satan’s lies. I’m failing to see that spiritual growth is not done in my power; it’s done through the power of the Holy Spirit doing his work in and through me. Sometimes it’s not doubt but apathy. I know that I need to do it and believe that I can but I don’t want to. It’s not a priority. Maybe I don’t see the benefits to spiritual maturity. Maybe I’m too comfortable. I need to realize that God’s plan for me involves change. He wants me to use the gifts he’s given me to advance his kingdom. He wants me to be spiritually mature so that Satan doesn’t gain a foothold in my life. If I’m going to grow up I need to attack things like sin, doubt and apathy.
1) How can I know? How can I tell if I’m spiritually mature?
A) A spiritual mature person has good character. Spiritual maturity is a matter of character, not appearance. Looking spiritually mature and sounding spiritually mature does not necessarily mean I am spiritually mature. How is my attitude? How is my conduct? Is it the same on Sunday morning as it is on Saturday night? How do I act when no one is watching? D. L. Moody said, “Character is what you are in the dark.” Reputation is what people say about you. Character is what God knows about you. One mark of good character is perseverance under pressure. James 1:2-4. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” We can measure our maturity level by how we handle conflict. When we can face trials with tact, integrity and steadfast, immovable faith then we are showing ourselves to be mature. Another mark is being able to control my tongue James 1:26, “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.” If I don’t use foul language or gossip or cut people down or brag about myself then I am keeping control of my tongue. Am I praising the Lord? Am I encouraging people? Am I using wholesome speech and choosing my words carefully? If so, then I am making proper use of my tongue. Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. I might be able to control my tongue in certain situations but am I consistent? Do I guard my speech in certain circles and let loose in others? I can say all the right things in the right situation but if I have a tight rein on my tongue then I will be consistent in what I say wherever I am. It won’t change depending on who I’m around at the time. I need to have good character if I’m going to be mature.