Have you ever wondered if you are spiritually mature? Does the bible speak of spiritual maturity and how to tell if you or someone else are as grown up as they think they are?
Today I spoke on this very subject and it caused me to think back to different times where I thought I was more spiritual than I really was. I remember about a year after I first gave my life to Jesus, that I was filled with a whole lot of zeal, and not much wisdom. In fact, if the truth be known, I was filled with a lot of spiritual pride. I thought I was knowledgeable and on top of my Christian walk, but had no clue how to judge whether I was even close to being a seasoned believer in the Lord. I was in fact, a novice.
Later, when I was attending Bible College, I was sure I was very mature. In fact I was convinced that I was going to be God's man of power for the hour! I had my white tux all picked out! Little did I know, that in reality, I was a sophomore. The word sophomore comes from 2 Greek words with root meanings of "Wise Moron" I was truly a wise moron but the wisdom was only in my own eyes.
So how can we tell if we are spiritually mature?
The bible does actually give some clues to this question. Here are some things I learned as I was preparing for today's sermon. We are doing a verse by verse study of the book of Ephesians. I am just going to take the relevant passage and break it down for you.
Ephesians 4:14-16 (New Living Translation)
14 Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. 15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. 16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.
- We will know we have increased in our wisdom and maturity when we are no longer chasing after new teachings! I have been around long enough to have seen the body of Christ chase after one fad or teaching after another. Is anyone old enough to remember the backward masking controversy? It was all over the Christian media. I remember watching Paul and Jan Crouch taking a Led Zeppelin record and playing it backwards. Ewwww Scary! I thought to myself "I don't need to listen to Led Zeppelin backwards to hear the devil. I hear him plain enough playing it the right way! So many people go rushing after new teachings. It is not a sign of being spiritually grown up.
- We will know that we have become aged in our walk with Jesus when we no longer are tricked by men. We will know when someone is a wolf in sheep's clothing. We will be able to discern hype over authenticity. We will be able to see where their motives lie in the so called truth that they are speaking. There is an age old adage that comes into play here. If you want to know the reason why someone is doing something, follow the MONEY! Seriously, can you see Jesus wearing expensive suits or tuxes? Can you see Him riding in Limo's? Flying in personal Leer jets? Or refusing to use His gifts unless an offering is taken? I can't. When you start to discern the difference between the lifestyle and character of men compared to the lifestyle and character of Jesus, you will have progressed in the maturation process.
- What is more important to you? Speaking the truth or loving on a person? When I was immature, I use to speak the truth without a whole lot of love. If I may confess, I did so because I wanted people to be impressed with my knowledge and stance for the "truth" and because I was not very humble and had to be right. Until we get to the point, where we are not trying to prove anything, but we are just loving someone, we are still a babe in Christ. When you speak the truth in love, your motive is only centered on what is best for the other person. And when we are speaking the truth in love, regardless if the other person agrees with you or not, they cannot be offended by what you say because they know that your motive for saying something is love and love alone. And who can get offended at someone loving them?
- Are you doing your own special work? Are you active in your local church? I don't mean sitting there on your blessed assurance and evaluating whether the preacher is hitting a home run or not. I mean are you doing what God has called you to do? Are you loving on people? Are you serving people? Are you building them up and encouraging them in their spiritual walk, or are you continually looking for the pastor, or teacher, or counselor to do that for you? We all need love, and encouragement from time to time, but we should be giving out more than we are receiving because we have learned how to receive good things from God and are freely giving them away.
If you are like me, I was challenged by this. I still struggle with wanting to be right. I still struggle with remembering to love someone especially if they are the type of person that for me is not easy to love. So we are all still in the process of growing and maturing in our Christian walk.
So I ask you dear reader. How many times have you chased after a new teaching? I have done it before. And you know what? I did it because I was looking to meet my own needs, not focused on Jesus. How many times have you put men up on a pedestal only to have them disappoint you? Did you compare their lifestyle and character to that of Jesus? When I failed in this, it was for that very reason. My focus was on their gift, not on the gift giver. How about you?
Now that is something to think about
This article was first published on my website Taber's Truths