About 5 years ago today, I wrote a blog post about “Spiritual Maturity“. In it, I answered a few common questions about spiritual maturity. But I couldn’t answer one crucial question. How do we mature spiritually? The answer is we must start growing spiritually in order to mature spiritually. We cannot grow spiritually unless we are intentional about our spiritual growth. Today let’s look at a strategy we can use to boost our spiritual growth.
Spiritual Maturity is often a misunderstood and misinterpreted doctrine in the Church. I am not an expert on this either but want to share a few thoughts with you. In this post, we will learn what spiritual maturity is not, what is spiritual maturity, as well as the nine biblical signs of a spiritually mature person. It is my hope these thoughts will help you to mature spiritually and be fruitful for Christ.
My parents take great pleasure in looking at photographs taken during my infancy. I think those old pictures remind them of lovely memories attached to the early days of my life. Just imagine, I never reached maturity but remained a baby for the past 32 years or suddenly stopped growing. Do you think my parents will feel the same?
Walter Patrick Bissell (1 December 1957 – 29 December 1987) was an American Ballet Dancer who was known for his brilliant performance. He was a fine Athlete also. He happened to die at a very young age from a Cocaine overdose. Are drugs to be blamed for the untimely death of this brilliant individual? The truth is much sinister and deeper.
Satan has a formidable arsenal of weapons that he uses against us, but none so well-used as these mentioned here. At various times all of us have fallen victim to these weapons. See if any of them sound familiar to you. [A sermon by Dr. Arnold Lastinger. Published with permission.]
“Stand firm” is the keyword used in this passage. It’s vital that we understand this word properly because it’s the key to unlocking this whole passage about spiritual warfare. In the military sense of the word “stand firm” means to hold one’s ground. “steko” is how the word is rendered in Greek and it gives the same meaning, (To stand firm in faith and duty, to be constant, to persevere, to remain steadfast and to continue in that state.)
You became part of the spiritual warfare the day you trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. Like in any other battle, in spiritual warfare also it’s very important that every Christian knows how to hold his ground. In today’s sermon, we are going to learn what steps we must take in order to secure our territory. Please turn your Bible with me to Ephesians 6:10-18.
1. Tapping the Source of Strength
A. Battles are exhaustive. An exhausted soldier needs to restore his strength or he becomes an easy target for the enemy.
B. This verse indicates that the source of our energy is not found within ourselves but within the Lord Jesus Christ.
C. I place my faith in God in order to tap into this source of strength. Then the Lord’s power becomes my power.
2. Identifying the spiritual Enemy
A. In warfare gathering intelligence is key. It’s used to identify and assess the enemy. The entire offensive depends on it.
B. In spiritual warfare, the Bible our source of intelligence identifies the devil and his hosts as our enemy.
C. The weaponry used depends on the kind of enemy you will engage. You can’t take a knife to a gunfight. Likewise, in spiritual warfare our enemy is spiritual and therefore we need spiritual weapons.
3. The function of the Belt of Truth
A. The belt held the rest of the armor together. From it hang the scabbard in which the sword was sheathed, (Ephesians 6:17)
B. The interpretation is 2 fold. First, it means the word of God, (John 8:32). In spiritual warfare we must know the word by heart.
C. Secondly our integrity and character. We should be doers of the word. You can’t fight an evil that is already in you.
4. The Breastplate of Righteousness
A. The breastplate was made of bronze and covered the body from the neck to the thighs. It protected the soldier’s heart.
B. For the believer, this means to guard his heart above all else because it’s the source of life as well as evil, (Proverbs 4:23; Matthew 15:11; 15:18).
C. Paul also refers to the “righteousness of Christ”, that “justification” found only in Him that protects us from the accusations of Satan, (Philippians 3:9)
5. The Shoes of the Gospel of Peace
A. The specially designed shoes enabled the Roman soldier to remain well-grounded even in the heat of the battle and to move fast over any terrain.
B. The interpretation is 2 fold. First, we have already been reconciled to God through the gospel. This is our foundation.
C. Secondly, we need to be ready with the same gospel to proclaim war against the devil and peace to the world.
6. The role of the Shield of Faith
A. The Roman soldier’s shield consisted of two layers of wood glued together, covered with linen and hide, and bound with iron.
B. Faith means faith to obey God’s word, (Romans 10:17). The 5th weapon (2 Timothy 4:2) is an act of obedient faith.
C. Faith is not supposed to shield us from physical suffering or guarantee ease but strengthen and comfort us in every situation.
7. Putting on the Helmet of Salvation
A. Illustration: Private Leon Wilson escaped a bullet fired by a sniper by only two Millimeters thanks to the helmet he was wearing, (Full story).
C. We overcome these through the renewal of our hope in the salvation that flows from Christ, (1 Thessalonians 5:8)
8. The role of the Sword of the Spirit
A. Roman soldiers carried short, straight swords. Very effective in hand-to-hand combat and was essential for individual survival.
B. God’s word is our sword. The only weapon of offense. We must use it regularly in order to become proficient users.
C. In spiritual warfare knowing the word (logos) is insufficient. Must know how to use it (rhema). Ex: Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 8:3 in Matthew 4:4.
9. The role of Praying in the Spirit
A. All of the above is just preparation for spiritual warfare. We have not stepped into the battlefield until we start praying in the Spirit.
B. When fighting spiritual warfare the most powerful position Christians assume is when they kneel in prayer.
C. Should be the prayer of perseverance, (Luke 18:1-8) and intercession, (Ephesians 6:19-20).
The Bible gives assurance that in spiritual warfare we can stand firm and resist anything that Satan throws in our way, only if we put on the whole armor of God. Which one of these defenses are you missing today and which weapons do you need to pick up? Allow the Holy Spirit to search your life inside out and guide you in his way. Don’t let the devil catch you unguarded. Don’t let him use the element of surprise against you.
Unlike earthly warfare fought between human opponents, spiritual warfare lasts longer and each one of us has got a battle to fight until we leave this world. We can rely on the intercessory prayers of others but we need to be armed and ready ourselves. A soldier with marching orders don’t go to battle with half the weapons and the other gear lest he becomes vulnerable. It’s the same in spiritual warfare also.
If you found this content helpful, I kindly ask you to leave your feedback in the comments section below. Sharing it with your friends and family through email or social media would also be greatly appreciated. Your feedback not only encourages me but also contributes to the growth and edification of the Church. In order to promote meaningful and respectful dialogue, I request that you use your full name when commenting. Please note that any comments containing profanity, name-calling, or a disrespectful tone will be deleted. Thank you for your understanding and participation.
Romans chapters 9 and 11 formed a break in Paul’s letter to the Romans. In those passages, Paul’s focus was on salvation and the Jew. Paul wanted to show them that God was not neglecting them in this present age, but that they could be saved by calling on the name of the Lord. Now, Paul returns to the main idea of his letter. He has spent considerable time telling us how we are saved, what we are saved from, and what salvation has done for us. In this last section of the book, Paul’s focus shifts to some very practical matters. He will discuss many aspects of everyday living in this world.