Developing Christian spiritual maturity should be a normal progression in the faith. It’s not—partially because it’s not taught. This part of the strait and narrow path is rarely talked about—maturity develops naturally, right? Wrong!
If it were automatic, we’d see far more mature Christians than we do. Growing old happens automatically. Maturity does not happen. It develops through dedication, focus, and perseverance. Much of what this series of posts will talk about comes through experience. The writer of Hebrews tells us this directly: “But solid food belongs to those who are mature, for those who through practice have powers of discernment that are trained to distinguish good from evil.” HEBREWS 5:14 MEV
Solid food and spiritual wisdom for developing maturity
We see this process in I Corinthians 2. This is the famous passage where Paul talks about how he decided to bring the Gospel to this area with a reputation much like San Francisco today. “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. 3 I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling. 4 My speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 so that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” I CORINTHIANS 2: 2-5 MEV
This type of approach is appropriate and powerful when evangelizing a new area, or when [world] evangelism is the prime focus of the church. However, churches like this tend to gloss over where Paul goes with this. The next verse is “Yet we speak wisdom among those who are mature, although not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing.” He goes on in verses 10-13 to explain about “the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
He says [edited for clarity], “But God has revealed them to us by His Spirit…the deep things of God. For…no one knows the things of God, except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God, so that we might know the things that are freely given to us by God. These things also we proclaim, not in the words which man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches.” He teaches these things to those who are converted and who become spiritual.
Here we see the key. We need spiritual food to mature. Jesus said it this way, “Therefore be perfect, even as your Father who is in heaven is perfect.” MATTHEW 5:48 MEV Surprised? The Greek word for perfect here is teleios which in Biblical usage means full grown, adult, of full age, mature. Strong’s uses complete. In the context of the writer of Hebrews in chapter 5, we are being told that we must move on past baby food, or milk. We need strong food, or meat. But that’s for the mature.
The Developing Christian spiritual maturity series presents solid food for the growth of genuine converts
However, it is not presented to the mature but those who have grown out of childhood becoming young adults. The place we find the scriptural basis for this approach is in I John chapter 2 where John talks about the differences between the children, the young adults, and the fathers. Click here for a post on Children, young adults, and mature adults from I John. But the point is that, as soon as we leave the bliss of our rebirth, we pass into spiritual warfare. This is where we learn a lot of what we need to know to become mature.
This series focuses on things we can share with young adults to help them know what to do and gain good experience toward maturity. In John’s three stages of development, young adults learn to overcome the evil one. Indeed, spiritual warfare needs to be learned as early as possible in the Christian walk. But it goes much further than that.
We need to put off the old self and put on the new person who is born of God
But all of this starts with learning what happened when we were born of God. The Lord enabled everything we need by shedding His Blood and dying on the Cross. I Corinthians 1:30 tells us that “…you are in Christ Jesus, whom God made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.” These things are all we need to enable the Holy Spirit to bring us to completion, mature, manifesting the fruit of the Spirit which is the character of Jesus.
Some posts to get you started
- Knowing Jesus personally
- Is a child-like faith necessary for maturity?
- Pressure brings repentance using stress
- Empower Bible reading by asking the author for help
- Personal intimacy with Yeshua changes everything
- The Bible is a lesser Word