Summary: Just because someone is spiritually mature does not automatically assure them of easy solutions to their problems. However, the spiritually mature person has the foundational impetus, power, and direction for dealing with all issues of life successfully
How to Mature in Christ
The Bible assures us that if we abide in Jesus, we can ask whatever we wish and it will be done for us. (John 15:7) As Lily and people like her learn to grow up into ALL aspects into Christ, they will be in a position to be able to integrate their spiritual maturity into the social, emotional, cultural, intellectual, religious, family, and interpersonal dimensions of life.
Just because someone is spiritually mature does not automatically assure them of easy solutions to their problems. However, the spiritually mature person has the foundational impetus, power, and direction for dealing with all issues of life successfully. When a person is secure in their identity, it enables them to see every difficulty as an opportunity to increase in their spiritual maturity. Jesus said,
"He prunes every branch in me which does not bear fruit; and He cleanses every branch which does bear fruit, so that it may bear more fruit." I remember a rose plant outside of my house that produced the most beautiful flowers.
Illustration: When I first arrived in Nigeria, consistently, people throughout the entire area would come to my garden seeking permission to pluck a rose for wedding ceremonies, which are numerous in Jos. However, since I failed to prune my plants, the rose bushes were not able to consistently produce their beautiful flowers.
Then, an elderly missionary lady took my rose bushes under her horticultural care. She diligently pruned the rose bushes like a surgeon cutting out dangerous cancerous tissue in a human body. Within months, the rose bushes were again blooming and people returned to my garden. Not only did this teach me the importance of consistency in pruning, but intelligence in knowing where to cut back the non-fruit bearing branches.
The Lord knows how to do both, if we are willing to let him use difficulties to prune away the superfluous aspects of our lives. Let us look at the levels of spiritual maturity that allow us to handle progressively greater challenges in our lives and ministries.
The following is a chart of how to development contextual Christian maturity in people like Lily. It shows six progressive levels of spiritual development in terms of one’s maturity with the word, prayer, fellowship, ministry, character, and faith.
Levels of Spiritual Intakes For Contextual Christian Maturity
1. Maturity in the Scriptures
a. Has respect for the Bible and the words of Jesus
b. Reads the Bible occasionally and has an appreciation for it message
c. Has a regular discipline of reading, studying, and memorizing scripture
d. Meditates on the Scripture and feeds himself from it principles.
e. Develops his own convictions and reasons for what he believes
f. His mind, attitude, and behavior are controlled by the scriptures. He sees the word as relevant to all areas of life and ministry
2. Maturity in Prayer
a. He thanks God for salvation and blessings
b. He prays when he has problems, concerns, and worries.
c. Has a daily time of prayer by himself
d. He prays in faith for specific requests. Prays intelligently and by faith for others as well.
e. His prayers center around praising God and believing Him for doing great things
f. He considers prayer an essential aspect to God working in and through Him and others. Prayer characterizes his lifestyle and ministries.
3. Maturity in Fellowship
a. He likes to be around some Christians
b. He attends church or other Christian gatherings, but seldom contributes
c. Prefers Christian friends to non-christians
d. He is involved in spiritual activities with other Christians
e. He is closely associated with at least one other Christian who he is discipling, praying with
or sharing intimate needs
f. He lives an open honest life, blameless in relationships with other and is able to forgive without holding grudges
Levels of Spiritual Outputs For Contextual Christian Maturity
4. Maturity in Ministry
a. He has shared with another person about his salvation and what Jesus means to him
b. He is able to share a clear testimony of what his salvation means and how it occurred
c. He is able to share the gospel convincingly, persuasive, and contextually with people he some things in common culturally
d. He is able to lead a person to Christ and teach him the basics of growing as a Christian
e. He is able to do some initial discipling of others, lead some Bible studies, and exercise his gifts in serving others for their edification
f. He is able to teach others the scriptures effectively, accurately, in order to help them become complete in Christ and in good relations with the body of Christ
5. Maturity in Character Development
a. Is genuinely repentant of his sins and wishes to change his mind, attitudes, and behavior