Manual

Christian Maturity

Share |

A Christian’s level of spiritual maturity is the degree to which God’s perspective of life has become the Christian’s perspective.

  1. What does Growth in Spiritual Maturity refer to?

    Growing in Spiritual Maturity refers to the process in which the Holy Spirit transforms a Christian’s spiritual understanding (values, priorities) in order to increase the flow of His life (His Living Water) through that Christian. As more of His life is free to flow through me there will be an ever-increasing measure of His spiritual fruit in my life.

    ABIDING FELLOWSHIP with the Holy Spirit has to do with whether or not His life is able to flow through me at any given moment. (# C position on Lesson 1-8)

    SPIRITUAL MATURITY has to do with how much of His life is able to flow through me at any given moment (in the context of abiding fellowship with the Holy Spirit).

  2. Spiritual Maturity does not necessarily speak of how much Biblical knowledge I possess, but rather of how willing I have been to allow the Holy Spirit to transform my understanding of Him, and of life.

    Jeremiah 9:23-24 … But the one who boasts should boast in this, that he understands and knows Me… This is the LORD’s declaration.
    John 17:3 This is eternal life: that they may know You, …
    Rom. 12:2 Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.
    2 Peter 1:5-8 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness, godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they will keep you from being useless or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
    Col. 1:10 … that you may walk … bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God.
    2 Peter 3:17-18 17 Therefore, dear friends, … be on your guard, so that you are not led away by the error of lawless people and fall from your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. …

  3. I can limit the flow of His life through me by focusing on my perceived personal capabilities or limitations.

    My natural tendency is to limit God according to my personal understanding of Him and how He acts. As He trains me He will speak to me about different areas of my understanding that are restricting the free flow of His life in and through me. I need to continually maintain the attitude of a disciple (an apprentice learner), a child (eager to listen and believe), so as to minimize the time that the Holy Spirit has to expend teaching me in any given area of understanding. I need to consciously allow Him access to any area of my life, aware that He will never make any changes except what is in my eternal best interest.

    Look at how we limit the Lord by only remembering what we have allowed Him to do for us in the past. We say, "I always failed there, and I always will." Consequently, we don't ask for what we want. Instead, we think, "It is ridiculous to ask God to do this." If it is an impossibility, it is the very thing for which we have to ask. (Taken from My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers – Feb. 29 (c) l935 by Dodd Mead & Co., renewed (c) 1963 by the Oswald Chambers Publications Assn., Ltd., and is used by permission of Discovery House Publishers, Box 3566, Grand Rapids MI 4950l. All rights reserved.)

    As I grow spiritually, my focus will shift from my capabilities to His capabilities.
    CAUTION: It is an unyielding “strength to resist” that hinders God, not weakness.

    2 Cor. 12:9-10 (Jesus told Paul) “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me. … For when I am weak, then I am strong.

    To honestly recognize my own capabilities is okay, but to limit
    God’s power to my perceived personal capabilities is an insult to Him.

  4. Spiritual growth (learning process) should continue until I move on to heaven.

    A trap that awaits the growing Christian is the illusion that he will somehow arrive at a spiritual plateau after which spiritual growth will continue with minimal discomfort. God wants to exercise my faith and increase my understanding of how He thinks and acts, in order for me to increasingly think like Him, and to bear more eternal fruit. Even though every step of faith involves a “perceived” risk, I can rest in the assurance that I am never out of God’s sovereign oversight and care, and He will never allow me to suffer beyond His sufficient provision of grace to sustain me. The process will continue until I leave this earth and step into God’s presence. Growing believers find that their life is a constant warfare. There are no plateaus, just “rest stops”. Be aware of a tendency to be complacent and satisfied with your level of spiritual growth. We resist change.

    Romans 5:3-5 … but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
    1 Cor. 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to humanity. God is faithful, and He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation He will also provide a way of escape so that you are able to bear it.
    James 1:2-4 Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.

  5. Biblical illustrations of the maturing process:

    1. Rivers of Living Water: A trickle becomes a stream, which becomes a river.

      John 7:38-39 (Jesus said) The one who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, will have streams of living water flow from deep within him.” He said this about the Spirit. … (See also John 4:14)

      As I live in abiding fellowship with the Holy Spirit His “Living Water” is free to flow through my life. The volume of His Living Water that is able to flow depends on my spiritual maturity.

    2. A Branch on a Vine: A twig becomes a branch. Obviously, as the branch grows (matures), more fruit can be produced through it.

      John 15:1-2, 8, 16 (Jesus said) “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vineyard keeper. … and He prunes every branch that produces fruit so that it will produce more fruit. My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to be My disciples. You did not choose Me, but I chose you. I appointed you that you should go out and produce fruit and that your fruit should remain, …
      Romans 7:4 (Paul wrote) … you also were put to death in relation to the law through the crucified body of the Messiah, so that you may belong to another—to Him who was raised from the dead—that we may bear fruit for God.

    3. The Growth / Maturing Process: An infant (baby, child) becomes an adolescent, who becomes an adult.

      Characteristics of an infant / baby: (1) hungry, (2) dependent on others, (3) self-centered.
      Stages of growth: The immature Christian tends to focus on self needs, then as he grows the needs of others become the focus, and as he matures God Himself becomes the main focus.
      Psalm 73:25 Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.

      Infants / Babies / Children:

      1 Cor. 13:11 (Paul writes) When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thoughtlike a child, I reasoned like a child. …
      1 Peter 2:2 Like newborn infants, desire the pure spiritual milk, so that you may grow by it for your salvation,
      1 John 2:12-14 I am writing to you, little children, because your sins have been forgiven because of Jesus’ name. … I have written to you, children, because you have come to know the Father.
      1 Thess. 2:7 Although we could have been a burden as Christ’s apostles, instead we were gentle among you, as a nursing mother nurtures her own children.
      1 Cor. 3:1-3 Brothers, I was not able to speak to you as spiritual people but as people of the flesh, as babies in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food, because you were not yet ready for it. In fact, you are still not ready, because you are still fleshly. …
      Heb. 5:12-13 Although by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the basic principles of God’s revelation again. You need milk, not solid food. Now everyone who lives on milk is inexperienced with the message about righteousness, because he is an infant.
      1 Cor. 14:20 Brothers, don’t be childish in your thinking, but be infants in regard to evil and adult in your thinking.

      Young Adults:

      1 John 2:14 (John writes) … I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, God’s word remains in you, and you have had victory over the evil one.

      Adults (fathers):

      1 Cor. 13:11 (Paul writes) … When I became a man,I put aside childish things.
      1 Cor. 14:20 Brothers, don’t be childish in your thinking, but be infants in regard to evil and adult in your thinking.
      Hebrews 5:14 But solid food is for the mature—for those whose senses have been trained to distinguish between good and evil.
      1 John 2:13-14 (John writes) I am writing to you, fathers, because you have come toknow the Onewho is from the beginning. …

      All Believers (the Church):

      Col. 1:28-29 We proclaim Him, warning and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ. I labor for this, striving with His strength that works powerfully in me.
      Eph. 4:11-15 And He personally gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, for the training of the saints in the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into a mature man with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness. Then we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit. But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into Him who is the head—Christ.
      Rom. 8:29 For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, …

    4. The Spiritual Growth of Jesus.

      His spiritual growth had nothing to do with sin. He was never disobedient or less than perfect.
       

      Luke 2:40 The boy grew up and became strong, filled with wisdom, and God’s grace was on Him.
      Luke 2:42, 46-52 When He was 12 years old, they (Joseph and Mary) found Him in the temple complex sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all those who heard Him were astounded at His understanding and His answers. … And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and with people.
      Heb. 2:10 It was entirely appropriate that God, … should make the source of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
      Heb. 5:8-9 Though He was God’s Son, He learned obedience through what He suffered. After He was perfected, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him.

Newsletter

Subscribe to our periodic electronic newsletter

 

Contact Us

We welcome your comments and/or suggestions

Connect With Us

We're on Social Networks. Follow us & get in touch.
You are here: Home Manual Phase 1 Lesson 16