Spiritual Maturity: Or how do I grow up into Christ.
Ephesians 4:15 “but speaking the truth in love, may grow up unto him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:”
We are called to grow up unto Christ. When we are born again, we are spiritual babes:
1 Peter 2:2 “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:”
But we are not to stay babes, we are to grow in grace, and the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18).
We are to become spiritually mature Christians; able to stand in the evil day, and able to help others.
Sometimes when Christians are called to a work (and we are all called as witnesses; Acts 1:8); or we receive spiritual gifts, we feel we have grown up.
But they gifts of the Spirit in no way guarantees spiritual maturity. Nor does suffering, loss, or the time you have been a Christian make you mature.
The Corinthian Church shows this:
1 Corinthians 1:4-7 “I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which was given you by Jesus Christ;
That in everything ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge;
even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you:
So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:”
They were behind in no gift; But they were carnal and walked as men.
1 Corinthians 3:1-3 ” And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as to spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto you were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?”
The gifts and knowledge they had, they misused. They had them. But they used them to make themselves better than others, and so caused divisions and strife; to cause bitterness, and to tear the Church apart.
To cause it to depart from the very foundation on which it was laid….which was Christ as Lord and Savior.
They sought their own fame, and not the encouragement and building up of the Church into Christ.
And so they had to be spoken to like children.
The Hebrew Church in Jerusalem had suffered the loss of all things for Christ. Had been cast out of the Temple worship; had been betrayed by family, and deserted by them. Had given all things to the work, but after years of waiting for Christ’s return; they became weary in well doing. They let self pity set in and so began to lose what they once had. Because of this, they had need that one teach them again the first principles of God.
Hebrews 5:11-14″ Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing.
For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
For everyone that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”
They had not continued to deny themselves, so they could continue to grow up into Christ.
If they had, they would have continued in the joy and peace they once had, even among the tribulations. And they would have grown in more grace, which sustains us in the midst of terrible, as well as good days.
But they became stagnant and really went backwards.
It is not what is given to us by God; but it is what we use, how we use it, and how much we let the Holy Spirit change us by the experiences we pass through.
Paul said, years after his conversion:
Philippians 4:11 “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”
We, too, are to learn of Christ:
Ephesians 4:21-24 ” If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:
That ye put off concerning the former conversation (way of life) the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”
Are you ready to learn of Christ?
He is more than ready to teach you His way of doing things; and give you more of His abundant life, in your life, today.