Spiritual Maturity is one of the most misunderstood and often misinterpreted doctrines in the Church. I am not an expert on this either. But I just want to share a few thoughts with you to begin with.
What Spiritual Maturity is not?
Most people think knowledge of scripture is Spiritual Maturity. Although knowledge of scripture is a requirement for growth, it should not be confused for maturity itself.
What is real spiritual maturity?
Spiritual maturity is actually another term for Christ likeness. The truly mature Christian is a person in whose character Christ like qualities are evident, especially when dealing with difficult situations. Given below are few well known examples.
1. Mary (Jesus’ mother) – When the Angel Gabriel delivered God’s message to Mary, initially she was startled and confused. But in the end she said “I am the servant of the Lord. Let this happen to me as you say!” (Luke 1:38)
2. Joseph (Jesus’ earthly father) – When Joseph found out that Mary is pregnant he planned in his mind to divorce her quietly. Later however he heeded the Angel’s words. (Matthew 1:18-25)
3. Jehoram (King of Samaria) – Tore his clothes in despair, upon knowing that the king of Assyria wants him to heal Naaman. (2 Kings 5:7)
4. Simon Peter – Drew his sword and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (John 18:10)
The 9 signs of spiritual maturity
We find nine signs of spiritual maturity in Galatians 5:22-23. These are known as Fruit of the Spirit. These characteristics were evident in the life and ministry of Christ.
1. Love – an unconditional commitment for the well being of others. (John 3:16)
2. Joy – a divinely inspired condition that relies on God’s presence and his promises instead of happenings. (Philippians 4:4)
3. Peace – the state of divine assurance, freedom from worry and oppressive thoughts. (Isaiah 26:3)
4. Patience – slow to avenge wrongs. Does not misbehave in difficult situations out of rage and hatred. Long suffering. (James 5:11)
5. Kindness – the eagerness to put others at ease. A sweet and attractive temperament that shows friendly regard. (John 4:1-26)
6. Goodness – selflessly opening one’s self to others and being generous to them although they don’t deserve it. (Luke 22:51)
7. Faithfulness – firm devotion to God, loyalty to others, responsible discharge of assigned duties. (Matthew 25:23)
8. Gentleness – humble non threatening demeanor that derives from a position of strength and authority. (2 Corinthians 10:1)
9. Self control – restrain one’s emotions, actions and desires, and to be in harmony with the will of God. (Luke 4:30)
A child takes many years to mature physically and emotionally. Likewise Nobody can fully mature over night. It’s rather a lifelong process. We cannot reach it’s fullness in this life either. But we help ourselves to become Christ like, by obeying God’s word. (Matthew 7:24-27)