Spiritual Maturity

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by SirColes, Mar 8, 2006.

  1. SirColes

    SirColes
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2006
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    How do you determine if you are actually growing as a Christian? I find this question very important in that the Bible promises that God will finish what he starts. So my basic premise is that if I am not growing, then perhaps I am not even spiritually alive yet.

    Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.

    Roger
     
  2. bapmom

    bapmom
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2005
    Messages:
    3,091
    Likes Received:
    0
    God measures growth in terms of decades. Look at where you were 10 years ago. Have you grown in some areas since then, spiritually?

    Have you learned more? Do you understand some things better now than you did then? Have you overcome some things that you know God disapproved of in your life? Or at least seen some improvement there?
     
  3. donnA

    donnA
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2000
    Messages:
    23,354
    Likes Received:
    0
    If you are saved, a christian, then you are spiritually alive.
    I've known people who were christians who were saved for 20, 30, 40 years and certainly not spiritually mature, some even immature. Spiritual maturity is not based on time. But on a continuing relationship with God, abiding in Him, seeking to do His will, as He gives us in scripture.
    The very fact that your concerned means you probably have nothing to worry about.
     
  4. Frenchy

    Frenchy
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2006
    Messages:
    796
    Likes Received:
    0
    quote from donna

    "Spiritual maturity is not based on time."

    I agree !
     
  5. James_Newman

    James_Newman
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2004
    Messages:
    5,013
    Likes Received:
    0
    SirColes, how do you think one becomes spiritually alive?
     
  6. SirColes

    SirColes
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2006
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    By spiritually alive, I meant saved / justified. Keep in mind that I am not talking about a concern with losing my salvation. It is more of a concern with having deceived myself into thinking I was saved to begin with.

    But I do not want to slip into a discussion about justification. That's a good discussion, but I have dealt with that for the most part. The point DonnA makes is probably my greater concern. I do not want to be a person who is still spiritually immature after 30 years as a Christian.

    I know I cannot rush the sanctification process. The Bible does, however, tell us to work out our salvation and to test ourselves to be sure we are in the faith. I am trying to determine a good test for spiritual growth.

    My thought is that I have mistaken spiritual discipline for spiritual maturity. In other words, if my life is full of things like Bible study, prayer, fellowship and service (among many other possibilities), then I must be growing spiritually. However, these are tools for spiritual growth, not the growth itself.

    The only tests I have been able to find from scripture deal more with justification as opposed to sanctification. Those are from 1 John and James. Do I love the brethern and do I persevere in faith through trials? Are these good tests for sanctification as well? I suppose they are. How then do I accurately judge whether or not I love those who are also children of God? I don't trust my feelings and I already know that my heart is more deceitful than it is trustworthy.

    Perhaps I am looking for concrete evidence where God is giving "softer" proofs like the witness of the Holy Spirit, love and faith.
     
  7. bapmom

    bapmom
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2005
    Messages:
    3,091
    Likes Received:
    0
    SirColes,

    how long have you been saved?

    I was not trying to imply that being saved for a long time equals spiritual maturity. Only that God allows us time to grow. We often want immediate proofs and immediate victories over things that take time to develop. Some plants grow quicker than others, some take longer to bear actual fruit....but they all take some amount of time.
     
  8. donnA

    donnA
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2000
    Messages:
    23,354
    Likes Received:
    0
    SirColes, if you weren't saved you wouldn't be worried about not being saved. The very fact you are worried says you are saved, an unbeliever does not worry about whether or not they are saved.
    bapmom sorry to have misunderstood.
     
  9. SirColes

    SirColes
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2006
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    bapmom, I have been saved for nearly 30 years. I grew up in the church and was saved at an early age. About seven years ago, I started questioning whether I was really saved or just playing the Christian game because that is the only way I have ever known. It took five or six years, but I am, for now at least, through that. I am as certain as I can be about my salvation.

    That being said, I feel as though I have either become stagnate or even become worse in some areas (more anger, much less joy) over the last year or so. This time, I am not questioning my salvation directly. Instead, I am questioning my understanding of the sanctification process and my role in it. I think I have fallen into a trap of focusing so much on spiritual disciplines, that I came to see improvement in those areas as spiritual growth. I think that is wrong. I think that is a subtle way in which I have followed the path of the Pharisees and traded God's word for man's traditions. The disciplines should not be goals in themselves. They are simply means to an end. The end is to be more Christ-like.

    I probably confused the issue by trying to ease into it. I have been a bit overwhelmed trying to tackle the entire sanctification process over the last month or so. So I tried going for how to evaluate myself as a starting point.

    I guess I am trying to get a handle on what spiritual maturity looks like. Is it more victory over sin? Is it increased usefulness in God's service? Is it a better prayer life and Bible study? Ultimately, I want to figure out what the Bible teaches about my role in the sanctification process. I just thougth a good starting point may be to understand what growing in Christ-likeness even looks like.
     
  10. SirColes

    SirColes
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2006
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    My previous one posted twice. I can't delete it, but can at least edit it to make it smaller. Sorry.
     
  11. Helen

    Helen
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/Helen2.gif>

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2001
    Messages:
    11,703
    Likes Received:
    1
    SirColes, let me suggest something my husband found to be true: the more we struggle to be 'good' the less good we become and the more frustrated (and angry) we become. The point of the Christian life is to let Christ live through you. I heard one minister say once that it was like one of us being the glove and Christ the Hand within. The glove does not work on its own. We are indwelt by the Holy Spirit.

    My husband heard it another way from Sir Ian Thomas, founder of the Capernwray Bible schools: "I am just the suit of clothes that Jesus wears."

    It means referencing every moment of your life to Him. It means thanking Him for everything you can possibly thank Him for, asking Him for guidance and wisdom in every circumstance, and yielding yourself completely to His direction. It is showing HIS character to the world.

    This is what made the difference for both of us. Long before we had met each other, we had each learned the lesson that it must be Christ in us, not us in the name of Christ!

    The two great Commandments are to love God and love your neighbor. They never include loving yourself -- that is a given. So don't try to measure yourself. Simply give up to God and let HIM do the work in you. Then you will look back and go, as many of us have, "Have I changed!" and you will praise God for that.
     
  12. bapmom

    bapmom
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2005
    Messages:
    3,091
    Likes Received:
    0
    SirColes,

    I looked up your profile, and we are only about a month apart in age. I too was saved at an early age, and I think it is mostly that fact that makes it harder for us in this area.

    Because for me, too, there was no huge lifestyle change when I got saved, no great change of action or even of attitude.....because I was taught always to love God. Its far easier for us to play the Christian game, to just automatically look and act the part, more as reflex rather than as serious conviction to change something. I had a time as well when I wondered if I was really saved, and had to work through that on my own, as you seem to have done.
    Now Im going through the process of gauging whether Ive really grown in God or not. Remember too, that much of the growth-time you've had included childhood, in which you had alot of other issues to concentrate on.

    Since we have the outer issues pretty much ingrained into us just from our upbringing, we have to now realize that God can take us further on those inner things like how we handle difficult relationships, how we deal with stress, and keeping a real relationship with God alive....not allowing it to become a reflex action like automatically going to church every Sunday morning rain or shine...just out of habit.
     
  13. Me4Him

    Me4Him
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2004
    Messages:
    2,214
    Likes Received:
    0
    Re 12:10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

    If Satan will "Accuse" us before God, don't ya think he'll also attempt to accuse us "personally" that we aren't saved and "unworthy" to be called a "Christians"???

    1Jo 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God:

    Just remind that "spirit" of the "CROSS", "nothing else", and he'll have to "FLEE".

    Jas 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
     
  14. Andy T.

    Andy T.
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2005
    Messages:
    3,147
    Likes Received:
    0
    Refresh my memory - where can I find a Scripture reference for this?
     
  15. Helen

    Helen
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/Helen2.gif>

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2001
    Messages:
    11,703
    Likes Received:
    1
    It's not necessary to have a Scripture reference to see what God has done in our lives. We ARE being transformed into the likeness of Christ -- Romans 8:28-30. That is a process. The longer time you have in a process, the more of the process you see. Why did you feel the need to challenge her on that?
     
  16. Andy T.

    Andy T.
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2005
    Messages:
    3,147
    Likes Received:
    0
    I guess I'm looking for the Scriptural support that God measures our growth in decades. Why not years? Or months? Or even scores?
     
  17. arkie pastor

    arkie pastor
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Messages:
    79
    Likes Received:
    0
    I Guess one of the best quotes I have ever read was made by Spurgen in "Lecture to my Students" He stated to his students...he said something like this, not a direct quote, This whole life spent here on this earth after salvation is a learning process.

    One of my guages for seeing maturity is, relying on Him and His power more and more for everything in our lives...and less and less on ourselves. For this comes by studing this blessed instruction book He has given us, And learning how mighty and powerful He is.
     
  18. genesis12

    genesis12
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2005
    Messages:
    799
    Likes Received:
    1
    I like that. I agree. The spirit imparted to one at the time one receives Christ as Savior and Lord is not immature. "All scripture is spiritually discerned." We can't spiritually discern scripture with an immature spirit. "We have the Mind of Christ" is literaly "We have the Spiritual Maturity of Christ."

    Bottom line: the spirit is either present or it isn't. If it isn't, then one "is not able to understand (scriptures) because they are spiritually discerned." The Greek word for the absence of the spirit is "psychikos" or soulish. Without the New Birth one is operating "soulishly," not spiritually.
     
  19. bapmom

    bapmom
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2005
    Messages:
    3,091
    Likes Received:
    0
    Andy,

    it was an attempt to point out that God's timeline is greater than ours. If you want to say years instead of decades its no skin off my nose (so to speak).

    Look at how long He takes to prepare people for ministry in the Bible....Moses was in the desert for 40 years. Why so long? Well to God 40 years ain't that long.

    And there is some indication that it was 14 years after Paul's conversion before he started his real ministry. We think of that as a long time, but God doesn't.


    genesis,

    Having the "mind of Christ" does not mean that one has the spiritual maturity of Christ. That is taking it way too far, IMO. Look at the apostles....they couldn't even stay awake long enough to pray with Jesus for an hour, how is that really spiritual maturity? There IS spiritual growth, a walk with God that improves over time, a deepening in the relationship and a deepening in the understanding of spiritual things.

    Haven't you ever discipled a new convert and seen their understanding and discernment grow? Or do you honestly assume that anyone who is saved automatically becomes mature in Christ and has all understanding and discernment immediately?
     
  20. genesis12

    genesis12
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2005
    Messages:
    799
    Likes Received:
    1
    bapmom, I believe that the spiritual maturity of Christ is available to everyone who believes. We are so full of the flesh that a battle rages between mind, will, and emotions (the soul; soulish) and the righteousness of God in Christ that became ours the moment we believed. The "mind" (spiritual maturity) of Christ is already ours. We let the world, the flesh, the proclivity get in the way. As we continue in Christ the NEW creation eventually becomes dominant. The old me becomes subject to the will of God, praise His Name forever!
     

Share This Page

Loading...