Measuring spiritual maturity is a pretty tricky proposition, but I am afraid that we have lost our way.
Some people point to the practice of rigorous spiritual disciplines. Some people point to the presence of certain spiritual gifts. Others point to their favorite character traits as the mark of maturity. Probably the most common mark of maturity in the church is knowledge. Bible knowledge carries a lot of weight. It is usually assumed that you are a mature follower of Jesus if you know chapter and verse.
Want to know if you are spiritually mature?
While there are lots of things that might shine some light on where you are spiritually, I’ll give you the best measure I know.
You obey God’s Word…all of it.
That is a little simple isn’t it. Maybe it’s even a little disappointing. You may have hoped for something more insightful or current. Our world is forcing selective obedience on us in order to fit in with blowing winds of culture. Our President has even called for religion to change in order to conform with the erroneous wisdom of the day. See here. Truth doesn’t change. God’s Word is truth. See here and here.
The idea of obedience to the whole of God’s Word may not be fashionable, but it is imperative. God calls us to it. You know what else it is? It’s measurable.
You can read the Bible everyday and ask, “Am I doing this?” “Am I acting on what I see?” “Is my life consistent with the Word of God?”
James 1:22 says “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.“
There are two important truths to grab from this passage as it relates to maturity.
#1 We deceive ourselves if we think that knowledge equals maturity.
I’m afraid that this deception is rampant in the evangelical church world. I understand why. We love the Bible, as we should. It is the very Word of God to us. Everything we need to know for this life is found there. God has spoken to us and we have it in print. It’s amazing. We need to know it, but the reason we need to know it is not to show off in Bible trivia.
We need to know it so that we can do it.
Which leads to point number two.
#2 What you do is what matters.
We must know the Word, but knowing the Word is the beginning and not the end.
We know the truth so that we can act on it. It’s not what we know, but what we do that matters.
Obeying the Word pleases God. Obeying the Word leads us into the best life possible. Obeying the Word draws us closer to Jesus. Obeying the Word grows us in maturity and reveals maturity.
So, here is the simple question of maturity: What are you doing with God’s Word?
Are you letting it convict you of sin?
Are you letting it inform your choices?
Are you letting it shape your worldview?
Are you letting it guide your relationships?
Are you letting it establish your understanding of what it true?
Are you letting it change your priorities?
Are you letting it change you?
Are you letting it determine your purpose?
Are you letting it be the final word in your life?
Are you doing what it says?
Obedience may not be very trendy. It will put you at odds with our culture. It may sound a little old school. Maybe it is too basic to excite, but there is nothing more essential to our walk with God.
If you do not obey God, you are not walking with God.
It doesn’t matter what you say. It doesn’t matter what you know. It only matters what you do.
It is there that you will discover the fullness of life that Jesus came to offer. Obedience is the best mark of maturity. Press into it.
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