What does it mean to be “spiritually mature”? Spiritual maturity is the process and the plane achieved in becoming more like Jesus Once we are saved, every Christian begins the process of spiritual growth and is on the path to becoming spiritually mature. According Paul, it’s a process that is ongoing and does not end in our time on earth.
In Philippians 3:12–14, Paul discusses the full knowledge of Christ. He admits that he has not already received the full knowledge of Christ, but that he will continue to develop to be spiritually mature:
12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
To be spiritually mature, we have to radically prioritize. We are to replace what pleases us, as humans, with that of what pleases God.
Let’s examine the characteristics of the spiritually mature Christian:
- Understands the the difference between right and wrong and chooses what is right.
The Bible is a manual for what is right and wrong. Learning God’s instructions for recognizing the difference between wrong and right and using it to navigate life is of key importance. As a spiritually mature Christian, we are to know the difference between right and wrong and choose what is right.
If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.
2. Is Not swayed by false teaching
We are to be so grounded in the truth of God’s word, that we recognizes falsehood – what is of God and what is not. Society bombards us with messages to put ourselves first, to listen to this one or that one, but the only teaching we are to cling to as truth is God’s.
1 John 4:1
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
3. Is rooted in love
Our words and actions should demonstrate love to other believers and all of mankind. We are to love as He first loved us. We don’t have to agree with them, we don’t even have to like them, but we do have to love them.
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another
FREE Bible Study Worksheets to Help You Dig Deeper Into His Word
4. Serves the church
A Christian cannot grow to to spiritual maturity without connection and fellowship with other believers. A spiritually mature Christian needs to find where she can serve and find encouragement..
1 Peter 4:10-11
10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
5. Lives with an eternal perspective
The spiritually mature Christian lives with the knowledge that our time on earth is temporary. What is important is not the trials of the day, but the hope of eternal life.
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
6. Controls her tongue
It’s hard to always say the right thing at the right time and often, we react before thinking or praying about our response. A spiritually mature Christian speaks with wisdom and knowledge of God and uses words that build up rather than tear down. Most of us can agree how tough this is to do. Yes, we will mess up, that is why we have to continually work toward spiritual maturity.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
7. Reflects God’s character to the world
When people see you and your words and actions, do they see Jesus? (See this article here on living like Him)
A spiritually mature Christian strives to display God in her words and deeds.
Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God…
8. Can see spiritual growth in themselves and don’t measure themselves on the highs and lows of life and their faith.
We all have bad days and don’t always honor and please God in our words and actions. Just like a football team cannot measure themselves by their worst game or their last fumble or even their best game or touchdown, we cannot measure our spiritual growth by one good day or difficult period in our lives. Spiritual maturity is ever growing, ever evolving.
so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;
9. Has peace that surpasses all understanding.
Despite bad days, difficult times and stressful moments, a spiritual mature Christian knows that God is in control and has peace that does not make sense to those who are not in fellowship with God.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
10. Employs regular spiritual disciplines
including meditation, Bible study, prayer, solitude, worship, community and fellowship, confession, and fasting. These are non-negotiable practices for spiritual maturity. Please don’t misunderstand me. You don’t have to do all of these each day and check them off of your to-do list. Continued intimacy with God depends on these disciplines and we are to strive to this intimacy with God. Make them a regular part of your life and your maturity in Christ will grow. People who struggle with consistency in their walk with God then to be the same people that place everything before God – often in the mask of “busyness”.
1 Timothy 4:7
Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly.
FREE Bible Study Worksheets to Help You Dig Deeper Into His Word
11. Serves the poor and others in need.
A spiritually mature Christian looks for ways to serve others in word and deed.
10 Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. 11 There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land.
Where are you on the path to spiritual maturity? Which of these characteristics of the spiritually mature do you display? Which do you need to work on? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
For a great resource on spiritual maturity, check out this book: Emotionally Healthy Spirituality: Unleash a Revolution in Your Life in Christ by I’m reading through it now and am loving how convicting it is to me! God is speaking to me through the words of the author.
Because He Lives,