Summary: How can we tell when people are spiritually immature
Symptoms of Spiritual Immaturity
I Cor. 3:1
A couple of weeks ago we looked at the topic of spiritual maturity. We discussed what it is and what some of the hindrances to it were. We said that a person moves toward spiritual maturity by building the principles of God’s Word into their life in such a manner that they become more and more like Christ in the way they think and act! Tonight we want to consider some symptoms of spiritual immaturity. Symptoms are not the problem! They are only the indicators of the root problem. A person may be running a high temperature, but it is only a symptom of the real problem! The same is true spiritually.
I. A Lack of Concentration.
A. NOTE: Heb. 2:1, 3:1, 12:2-3
B. What is brought out by these exhort- ations is an inability to fix the heart and mind upon Christ and make Him the chief object of devotion and attention.
C. ’Lest at any time we should let them slip’
1. ’slip’ = drift away
2. That is a nautical phrase describing what happens to a craft that isn’t anchored.
3. Without our hearts and minds fixed upon Christ we are carried away by the currents of the world around us.
D. The same is true in the natural realm as well.
1. Children are unable to deliberately focus their attention and control their concentration.
2. Consequently, they devote themselves at will to a new activity.
3. The more mature the child, the longer they can concentrate on any one activity.
II. A Lack of Appetite.
A. Note: Heb. 5:12-14
B. Once again an illustration from the natural realm illuminates the world of the Spirit.
C. Three periods of life when we cannot digest ’strong meat’.
1. At infancy.
2. During sickness because of some poison in our digestive system.
3. Near death, when our system no longer has the strength or energy to turn solids into nourishment.
D. Three periods of our life spiritually when we cannot digest the ’strong meat’ of the Word of God.
1. When we are spiritually immature - babes in Christ.
2. When the poison of sin enters our system.
3. When we are so controlled by sin and self that we become castaways in God’s service.
III. A Lack of Discernment.
A. NOTE: Eph. 4:14
B. ’Discernment’ = the ability to distinguish the transient from the permanent to determine the eternal value.
C. Sometimes the important distinction we need to discern is not between what is evil and what is good, but between what is comparatively harmless and what is actually valuable.
D. NOTE: I Cor. 10:23-24
1. What is Paul saying?
2. That we shouldn’t be asking is it lawful to do such and such;
3. But will it edify? Will it help my Christian life? How will it affect those around me?
4. The believer who defends their action by saying ’What’s wrong with it?’ is still self-centered and carnal; certainly not spiritually mature.
E. Consider once again an example from the physical realm.
1. A little child receives some birthday money.
2. Their first inclination is to spend it on toys - and they are likely to be attracted by the bright, attractive toys which profess much, but perform little. ex: airplane w/wheels
3. Children cannot see past the pack- aging to the real value.
F. NOTE: Heb. 13: 9
1. Immature believers are ’tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine’ (Eph. 4:14)
2. These young Christians thought that they were being spiritual, but in fact what they were doing was not biblical. cf Heb. 10:14
3. Christ is better than the law and the sacrifices of animals.
4. NOTE: Heb. 5:13 Because they were babes, they were unskillful in the Word of righteousness.
We have defined spiritual maturity, discussed hindrances to it, and looked at some of the symptoms of spiritual immaturity: A lack of concentration, a lack of appetite, and a lack of discernment. Are these symptoms present in our lives?
God’s desire for us is that we grow, mature, and become more like Christ. He equips us through His Word, through the local church, and through other believers. There is no excuse for spiritual immaturity!