Y’all ready for this one? I’m gonna step on some toes the way I had mine stepped on- and it’s gonna hurt so good!
This is a topic that many Christians think they are doing well in, but may not actually be… MATURITY.
Not the “I never act silly” or “I’m always the serious one/the one in control” type of maturity. Rather, I’m referring to spiritual¬†maturity, the whole: meat vs. milk thing.
Don’t get that reference? Here it is…
“We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand.¬†In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths¬†of God‚Äôs word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!¬†Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant,¬†is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.¬†But solid food is for the mature,¬†who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.¬†
Honest Cassie tidbit- while I always thought I was really mature spiritually, I now realize that I’m still treading water in adolescence. I say that not to be pitiful, but to be completely transparent. I used to think that being a mature Christian was wrapped up in understandings of Scripture and theology, certain measures of faith in difficult (or even everyday) situations, and pursuit of God’s guidance and will. These are incredibly crucial… but I can honestly say now that I no longer hold these things to be, in and of themselves, the sole definition of “maturity”.
“Get to it woman; what’s your point?!”¬†¬†(I hear that a lot).
Here it is: my idea of a mature Christian is one who is¬†CONSISTENT. Everyone has ups and downs, everyone slips up and messes up… but overall if a believer is consistent in their walk with Christ, their emotional/mental responses, and their spiritual “disciplines” (prayer, Scripture reading, etc.) then to me this shows the wisdom that comes with spiritual maturity.
“Does that mean all I have to do is develop good habits and I’ll be spiritually mature?” Of course not! However, I do think that consistency in all the various areas of life is a huge indicator of someone who is mature in their faith.¬†
Look at¬†Daniel from the Old Testament. Here was a guy who was exiled from his homeland, had terrible things done to him (Google what they did to the guys coming from Judah), had his Godly name changed, and was forced to serve pagan kings! In all this though, Daniel never wavered in his faith or in his spiritual habits. Even when his life was on the line, he knew the importance of holding firm to his prayer life and never skipped over it.¬†
-Read Daniel 6 for the whole story-
All in all, while we cannot be legalistic in thinking that our strength comes from what we¬†can do… what we do¬†is¬†evidence of the heart that lies within us. ¬†
A more personal example would be you and I. How emotionally/mentally¬†consistent are we? “I’m consistently in a bad mood” is not what I’m talking about. I mean the unwavering¬†pursuit¬†of living and responding to things in a Godly way.
Again -we all slip up and struggle- but ongoing progress¬†is what we’re shooting for here. ¬†
I thought I was SOOOOO mature in my walk… yet, when ¬†I was brutally honest with myself, I realized that all the things I’m currently struggling to maintain are “milk things”; things that baby believers (those new to their walk with Jesus Christ) should be learning to develop. This believer of almost 20 years is still trying to develop a steady prayer life, consistent quiet time, fairly reliable emotional responses to stressors, etc. ¬†I’m getting wiser- but I’m not there yet.
Knowledge doesn’t necessarily mean maturity and strength is not always a byproduct of passion. ¬†I believe that, when it comes to our spiritual lives, maturity and strength are revealed in a person when their lives are a picture of consistency. Humans are imperfect, but the steadiness of someone’s life can be indicative of the strength within.
That being said- just how mature are you?