One of the great tragedies in life is for one to claim a longstanding relationship with Christ and yet be very immature spiritually. This is something that should not be. It is comparable to a baby who fails to thrive. When a baby doesn’t grow physically, we know that something is very wrong. In the same way, if we examine our own lives and see that we have not grown spiritually, we should be very alarmed. Something is very wrong. Sometimes Christians go through life with the same fleshly attitudes and behaviors that we had before we came into Jesus. Very little changes. Little to no fruit is produced. Christ seems to have little impact. On the other hand, we all know brothers and sisters in the Lord who have changed completely since meeting Jesus. They grow and bear fruit and are a blessing to those around them. The question is, why do some go on to maturity and some do not?
If we are going to mature in the Lord, we must be feeding on the word of God. Just as a baby will not grow without milk, so a Christian will not grow without feeding upon the word. Peter writes, “…like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation…” (1 Peter 2:2, NASB) If you and I are not feeding on the word, there will be no growth.
If we are going to mature in the Lord, we must be practicing righteousness. There will be no growth if we only talk about the things of the Lord but do not practice them. As we see in Hebrews chapter five, “But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.” (Hebrews 5:14, NASB) Practice brings the ability to discern good and evil, and this is a mark of spiritual maturity.
Finally, if we are going to mature in the Lord, we must take opportunities to grow through trials. Those who are mature have allowed the Lord to mold and shape them in the fires of suffering. As James says, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4, NASB) Trials, if endured with a God-centered, joyful attitude, will lead us to be perfect (mature), and complete.
Let us examine our own lives and, with God’s help, press on to greater spiritual maturity.