We’re supposed to be growing our entire lives, not physically but spirtually. This post is about taking responsibility for your spiritual growth.
Let’s start with a simple definition of spiritual maturity.
- Spiritual Maturity is becoming more like Jesus
- Not external – dressing a certain way, putting a Jesus fish on your car etc.
- Jesus called out the pharisees and religious leaders b/c they thought it was external
- It’s something internal but manifest itself in external things
I remember going to youth group when I was younger and they handed out everyone a sheet of white paper with a piece of duct tape on it. Below the duct tape, the sheet read, “Would people know you’re a Christian if this was on your mouth?”
So many people, myself included, say the right things but don’t always do the right things. It’s easy to talk the talk, but how many people do you see walking the walk?
In the past week, month, year, have you become more like Jesus? Are you more forgiving? Are you more loving? Do you have more patience? Are you more kind?
The list of questions could go on and on but the point of these questions is to take a look at your spiritual journey to see if you are moving forwards or backwards.
Now that we’ve covered what spiritual maturity is, what is it NOT?
- Spiritual Maturity is NOT…
- accidental- Nobody wakes up one day and becomes spiritually mature
- automatic- takes work , not like automatic physical growth
- “fully” attained – There is always a next step
I’ve never heard of anyone waking up one day and naturally becoming a professional or expert at anything. Most professionals have spent thousands of hours practicing their trade and learning how to be the best they can be.
Where there is room for improvement, there is always a next step. Consider your next step towards spiritual maturity, maybe it’s just showing up to church on Sunday Morning.
After being away from church and reading the bible last year, my “next step” was getting back into reading the Bible, doing a daily devotional and showing up on Sundays to church. What’s your next step?
- The one responsible for my spiritual growth is me!
- Cooperative effort of the Believer and Holy Spirit.
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think-Romans 12:2a (NLT)
- Don’t implies choice – You can choose to go with the flow like everybody else (behaviors and customs of this World) or choose to live differently like Jesus
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control – Galatians 5:22-23a (NLT)
- If you are a believer, the Holy Spirt produces this fruit inside of us, but it takes cooperation with the Holy Spirit
It’s not rocket science but no one said it was going to be easy. When you become a follower of Christ, the Holy Spirt lives inside of you. There is a still a choice to be made though. Life is all about choices. Are you going to choose to live differently or go with the flow?
A quote I found while writing this post that I like goes as follows,”You must make a choice to take a chance or your life will never change”
Another good one, “You have two choices in life: You can dissolve into the mainstream, or you can be distinct. To be distinct, you must be different. To be different, you must strive to be what no one else but you can be.” – Alan Ashley-Pitt
God gave everyone a unique thumbprint, DNA and other characteristics. Are you trying to be somebody else instead of being who God made you to be, which is YOU?!
For the longest time I have tried to be somebody that I’m not instead of embracing who I am. It has been a little scary at times (and the journey is still in progress), but learning to love and accept myself exactly the way I am, the way God made me, is something that I would encourage everyone to do if they don’t already.
So now that we’ve address what spiritual maturity is, is not, and who is responsible… let’s address the HOW!
- a. Push yourself
I do not claim that I have already succeeded or have already become perfect. I keep striving to win the prize for which Christ Jesus has already won me to himself. – Philippians 3:12 (GNT)
- Not automatic- show up, even when you don’t “feel” like it
- Similar to Physical growth- the longer you are a Christian, the more you have to push yourself to see incremental changes
- Good to have a “workout partner” – accountability
- iron sharpens iron
- b. Train yourself
Do not waste time arguing over godless ideas and old wives’ tales. Instead, train yourself to be godly. “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” – 1 Timothy 4:7-8 (NLT)
- Gotta put the work in to see results!
Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong. – Hebrew 5:14 (NLT)
- c. Feed yourself
You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. – Hebrew 5:12-13 (NLT)
Have you left a church because you thought you weren’t “being fed enough”? Consider this, a Sunday sermon is only about 30-40 minutes along, what about the other 10,040 minutes in the week? If you ate real food for 30-40 minutes one day a week, would you expect that to be enough nutrition to sustain you till the next week? I don’t think so!
The point here is that we shouldn’t rely solely on the pastor for “spiritual nutrition”. Yes, a good pastor should be serving up a “nutritious meal”, but hopefully it creates a hunger inside of you to go find “food” in other places.
- d. Devote yourself
All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer – Acts 2:42
Where are you giving your time or resources to? It could be a person, an activity or a cause? You become what you are devoted to. Are you devoted to becoming a follow of Jesus or are you trying to keep up with the joneses?
This blog post was made possible by attending Foothills Community Church in Seneca, SC on 2/19/17 – To watch the sermon online go to www.foothillscc.org watch/listen page, look up “A Different View on Spiritual Growth” in the “Different” Series.