I was at a recent GCM Collective in Philly and I was inspired by something one of the pastors said. He referred to the fact that we need a new measure for what it means t0 be spiritually mature. Borrowing from some of Rob’s thoughts I came up with the following…
The old standard for spiritual maturity:
- Knows the Bible: Have you ever met someone who knew the facts and stories of the Bible really well but they did not demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit? Reminds me of James 2:19; it is truly bizarre. Early on in my seminary days I realized that there were scholars who spent their entire life studying the Bible and they did not believe in Jesus. Never got the logic behind that. Needless to say, spiritual maturity requires more than knowing the Bible.
- Is a church member: I encourage people to become members of our church. The problem is not with being a member, the problem is when we live as if all membership entails is attending church events and programs.
- Is busy doing church work: Ponder this frightening thought; it is possible to spend years in the church and never actually do the mission of the church. If you doubt this is true, keep reading.
The Biblical standard for spiritual maturity:
- Is fluent in the gospel: A mature Christian understands that being a disciple is more than knowing truths about the Word of God, it is understanding that the gospel is the very power of God and that it must be applied to every area of life. Think of an area of life that you are currently struggling. Really, stop and think about it. Now, ask yourself, “how does the gospel apply to this area of need or temptation?” When we can answer questions like that we know that our hearts and minds are being transformed by the good news of Jesus Christ. The gospel is not merely what saved us it is what sustains us every moment of every day.
- Is committed to messy community: The New Testament describes the church as the family of God. Families are not primarily meetings! Families do life together. This is easy to say, really challenging to do.
- Is involved in the true mission of the church: What is the mission of the church? Good question. I don’t think I will get many arguments if I say it is to make disciples of Jesus Christ. Right? Who are you discipling with the purpose that they will go and do likewise?
Which standard for spiritual maturity best describes you?