Summary: How can we tell if someone is spiritually mature or not? How can we tell if one is really spiritual or not? The bible gives us a simple, straightforward and overlooked way we can tell.
What is Christian Maturity?
As we grow and mature, there are four stages of growth and development
3. Adolescence and
We can look at someone and tell how physically mature they are
In the Christian life, there are two stages not four
They are: infancy and maturity
They have certain characteristics but the Scripture tells us there should be growth in between
We all should be growing, maturing, changing, becoming more Christ-like
More dead to ourselves, more alive to God.
How may of you today want to be mature as Christians?
I have noted about three things that characterize maturity in the Christian life but I just want to deal with one today
It will help us realize if we are still in spiritual infancy or spiritual maturity
Chronological age does not automatically mean maturity.
This is true in the natural as well as the spiritual
I have observed some 18 yr. olds that are as mature as 30 yr. olds, 30 yr. olds that are as mature as 16 yr. olds.Don’t assume that just because you have been a Christian for a number of years that you are automatically mature.
Let us turn our attention to: 1 Cor. 3:1-4
Here, Paul is writing to the Corinthian church and addressing several problems that they had.
Outwardly, the church seemed very spiritual
had great meetings, the charismatic gifts were flowing (prophecy, healing, faith, miracles)
They were growing and exciting things were happening
But Paul gives us indication here that they were not mature but infants in their faith in Christ
There was Jealousy & Strife among them.
A mature Christian lives in harmony with others
Let’s look at these two things that Paul brings our attention to as being spiritually immature.
Then I will give a way to work around them
Jealousy - - fearful, suspicious of being displaced by others.
Envy – feeling resentment or discontent over another’s attainments, endowments or possessions
“An envious man not only wishes to see the other deprived of his possession, but also wishes to obtain it for himself.”
Movie Clip – Amadeus - where Saleri is jealous of Mozart
Seems like there is much of this in Christian circles
Many in the church can weep with those who weep – but they are too jealous, too insecure, too prideful to rejoice with those who rejoice
They give weird looks and vibes – if someone in the church gets a new car, or a promotion or a season of good fortune. They don’t like it. They won’t say much maybe – but give subtle comments, put downs or give people the once over.
Do you and can you genuinely rejoice for others when the Lord blesses them in their life?
Are you genuinely happy for them or secretly, out of your insecurity feel threatened by them?
Being competitive, jealous, petty will grieve the Holy Spirit, damage your relationships with others and injure yourself.
God is the source for all things. The mature believer is secure in Him.
Jealousy, insecurity shows that you are still a spiritual infant. It reveals that some ego, pride, a self that has not been crucified or given over to Christ. It is more problematic than just that. Jealousy can and will destroy you.
There is an ancient Greek legend that illustrates beautifully the plight of jealousy, envy and the wrong kind of competitive spirit
In one of the important races a certain athlete ran well but he still places second. The crowd applauded the winner noisily and after the race, a statue was erected in his honor. The one who placed second came to think of himself as a loser. Envy, jealousy began to eat away at him and corroded his mind and emotions.
He decided he had to destroy the statue that was a daily reminder of his lost glory. The plan took root in his mind which he cautiously began to implement. Late each night, when everyone else was sleeping, he went to the statue and chiseled at the base, hoping to weaken the foundation and it would eventually topple.
One night as he was chiseling away, he got more and more aggressive in hammering, thinking about his opponent. He chiseled away too much and the statue teetered on its base and then crashed down on the disgruntled athlete.He died beneath the crushing weight of the marble replica of the one he had grown to hate.
In reality, he had been dying long before, inch by inch, chisel blow by chisel blow.
That is what envy, jealousy will do to you. Eats and chips away at your love for God, love for people, your mental and emotional health.
God will bless you as much as others – there is no scarcity of His goodness. There is plenty of it to go around. Rejoice with your friends, family, church brothers & sisters when they experience God’s blessing in their life or when they have something that you don’t. This is a test of your spirituality, your Christian maturity