Growth and maturity are normal and expected initial decision to embrace Jesus. Now once we become born again, our Spirits are rejuvenated by the power of God’s Spirit. We have a new nature in us that has to be fed the truth of God’s grace in order for him to find expression. Spiritual maturity is all about giving expression to the divine nature in us.
“ but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ”
The following are things that by themselves do not mean spiritual maturity.
MYTH # 1. TIME automatically makes us spiritually mature.
Time is certainly helpful when it comes to spiritual growth, and it presents a framework in which growth can occur. But time alone is no guarantee that growth has taken place or will take place. Being a Christian for 14 years does not equal being mature in the faith. Ed Cole said, “The popular notion is that maturity comes with age. Not true. You get old with age. Maturity comes with the acceptance of responsibility in every area of your life.”
This truth is evident in the remark made to the Hebrew Christians (5:12), “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.”
MYTH # 2. PROXIMITY automatically makes you spiritually mature.
Proximity refers to closeness, and in this context we’re speaking about being close to a godly person or to a group of believers. Again, this can help, but it doesn’t guarantee maturity. Being in a church group does not equal spiritual maturity.
MYTH # 3. APPEARANCE automatically makes you spiritually mature.
How many times have appearances been misleading? How many times did we see something that looked like a good deal, but it fell apart? People have defined holiness by the clothes you put on, the hair you keep and so on. These all fall short of defining God’s true person. A neat and decent fashion sense does not automatically suggest the righteousness of God. Like in so many places where women are not allowed to put on trousers (which is unscriptural) there is a heavy emphasis appearance-based Christianity.
Jesus warned against judging by appearances when He said, “Be honest in your judgment and do not decide at a glance (superficially and by appearances); but judge fairly and righteously.” (John 7:24, Amp)
MYTH # 4. TRIALS automatically make you spiritually mature.
James 1:12 tells us, “Blessed is the man who endures temptation…” Unfortunately, we’ve often read and misinterpreted as though it said, “Blessed is the man who experiences temptation.” Many people who’ve merely experienced temptations, tests, and trials have come out of those experiences disheartened, discouraged, and defeated. It’s not the trial that brings the blessing, it’s the enduring of it that enables us to grow and mature. Why? We were provided the platform to showcase His divine nature in us. It’s been said that trials will either make us bitter or better, and I believe we have a choice in what our outcome will be.
MYTH # 5. KNOWLEDGE automatically makes you spiritually mature.
Knowledge can be a great source of blessing in one’s life, knowledge alone—the mere accumulation of information— doesn’t automatically create spiritual maturity in a person’s life. Knowing Bible facts doesn’t take the place of acting on or being transformed by truth. So many Christians are filled with so much bible knowledge that is just a mixture of both covenants. Paul encouraged the Corinthians to be “…enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge…” (1 Corinthians 1:5).
True knowledge that guarantees maturity is knowledge enriched by grace in Jesus otherwise one will be filled with information that becomes a burden and not a blessing.
MYTH # 6. SPIRITUAL GIFTS automatically make you spiritually mature.
In the previous point, Paul’s assertion was that the Corinthians were carnal and not spiritual. He even referred to them as spiritual babies. He didn’t simply refer to them being enriched in knowledge in 1 Corinthians 1:5, but consider what else he said about them in verses 6-7:
“…that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge, even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you, so that you come short in no gift…”
It is very possible for one to operate in spiritual gifts and be very immature. This is so because the gifting is based on grace. They are grace gifts. It is not merited nor deserved.
MYTH # 7. MINISTRY automatically makes you spiritually mature.
Serving God is a wonderful thing, and it’s such a privilege when the Lord calls and graces us to function in some type of ministerial capacity. But being involved in ministry does not mean you are automatically developing. As Paul said in 2 Timothy 2:15
“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that has nothing to be ashamed of, rightly dividing the word of truth.’’
It’s very possible to do ministry and remain as one if it is based on a performance-driven structure where you find your worth based on your works and not in the finished work of Jesus.
To experience spiritual growth, and live spiritual and not carnal, you must feed on the Lord Jesus Christ daily. This is more than just reading the Bible. Many people read their Bible and feed on the cold stone law and find no life in it. Feast on Christ and His finished work and let the living water and the daily bread feed your soul. Concentrate on what Christ did for you, taking your sin and giving you His righteousness. See yourself as forgiven, loved and accepted, and as you begin to believe it, you will see it live out in your life.
You are not carnal, you are spiritual. Walk as mature saints not babes in Christ. Go in Him and grow in Him in Jesus’ lovely name.