Steps To Spiritual Maturity

October 28, 2014

Steps To Spiritual Maturity

      Let’s say a carpenter has a goal of building a house and having it done within three months.  He may have a goal of having the land cleared and leveled within a week.  Then he may set another goal of having the basement dug and the foundation laid within a certain time.  We too need to have goals that will enable us to reach the main goal.  No one reaches spiritual maturity in one giant step.  It is a process.  In Philippians 3:14 the Apostle Paul said. “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”    Without goals, we   make little progress.  We may go around in circles without getting anywhere.  Even if we do have goals, we won’t reach them without putting forth effort.

If you are truly a child of God, your main goal should be that of reaching spiritual maturity.  A number of things are included in spiritual maturity.  Among them are the following:

  1. We no longer live in doubt about whether God exists or if the Bible is true.
  2. We no longer struggle with temptation to satisfy the major lusts of the flesh.
  3. We have developed the discipline of daily Bible reading and prayer.
  4. We are faithful in attending a good Bible believing local church.

There are some important steps, or sub-goals, that we need to set for ourselves to enable us to reach spiritual maturity.  You may not need a time limit on them like the carpenter.  It takes longer for some to reach spiritual maturity than it does for others.

One step is an honest recognition of the fact that you belong to God. You aren’t really a child of God unless you are born again.  Spiritual maturity is for born again Christians.  You can never hope to reach it if you aren’t a child of God.  You become a child of God by accepting Christ’s sacrifice.  That enables God to forgive you.  I Corinthians 6:10-20 says, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?    For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” Say it to yourself; “I belong to God.” Then tell it to God.  “Lord I’m yours.  You have a right to guide and use me.”

The other   steps, or sub-goals, require effort and self-discipline.  You need to set aside time each day to read your Bible and pray.  Psalm 5:1-3 says, “Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my meditation.   Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for unto thee will I pray.   My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.” When you read about something you need to be doing, you need to agree with God about it.  Make a commitment to God to do it.  Sometimes it may just be an example of a Bible character who did that which was right.  You need to agree to follow that example.  If you start reading your Bible every day and go for a week doing it, it may happen that you will let it slip and go for a few days without doing it.  Don’t let that defeat you.  Go back and start again, and continue making the effort until it becomes your daily routine.  This exercise is vital if you are to gain the knowledge and self-discipline you need to live the Christian life.

You will need to work at eradicating the works of the flesh from your life.  They are listed in Galatians 5:19-21.  “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,   Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,    Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” This is by no means an exhaustive list.  If the Spirit of God convicts you of other things, be quick to agree with him.  The works of the flesh need to be replaced by the fruit of the Spirit.  They are found in Galatians 5:22-23.  “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,    Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”

Another step you need to take is that of finding a good local church that preaches and teaches the whole word of God. You need to discipline yourself to attend regularly.  I Timothy 3:15 says, “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”  Faithful church attendance will greatly facilitate your spiritual growth.  If you haven’t been in the habit of going to church faithfully it may be a struggle at first.  Friends will invite you to do something with them.  The family may expect you to join them on Sunday  You need to learn how to say graciously, “I’m sorry, but I have started going to Church on Sunday.”

None of us ever reach the apex of spiritual maturity.  There is always room for further growth.  An important milestone to reach might be called “spiritual stability.” It is a point where you no longer vacillate between obeying and disobeying.  You can be counted on to keep your commitments.  On Sunday morning you don’t debate about whether or not you should go to church.

Hebrews 6:1 exhorts us to go on to maturity.  “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God.”  The word “perfection” could better be translated maturity.  We will never reach perfection, but we can reach maturity.  (See also my article entitled “Spiritual Maturity” under Christian life.)

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