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What is Spiritual Maturity in Christ?

stages of Spiritual maturity

January 29, 2024

Growth is part of the vital process in life. We all want to grow, and most of our efforts are usually channelled towards growth and improvement. Spiritual growth is also important for every believer. Christians are encouraged in the scripture to strive towards spiritual maturity and spiritual growth. There is no way we can enjoy the full privileges of being a believer without reaching spiritual maturity. Let us explore the biblical meaning of spiritual maturity and how to become spiritually mature.

What is Spiritual Maturity?

Spiritual maturity is when a Christian has reached the level of spiritual adulthood. Spiritual maturity is reaching a point where we become like Christ; it is a level where our thoughts, actions, outlook of life and behaviours are like Christ. At salvation, we were like a baby, irrespective of the physical look. As we progress in Christ, we are expected to grow up from being a baby to a full-grown adult.

12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!

13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.

14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

Hebrews 5:12-14

Characteristics of A Spiritually Mature Christian

Many attributes show a believer is spiritually mature. Here are some signs of a spiritually mature Christian

1. Has a Deep Relationship with God

   A spiritually mature Christian has a deep and intimate relationship with God. Their faith goes beyond rituals, reflecting a genuine and constant connection through prayer, worship, and devotion to God.

2. Fruit of the Spirit is evident in their life.

   Spiritual maturity is evident in the manifestation of the fruits of the Spirit, as outlined in Galatians 5:22-23. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are evident in their character. The Holy Spirit always leads a spiritually mature Christian. They are very attached to the Holy Spirit and value the opinion of the Holy Spirit.

3. Displays great Biblical Wisdom.

   A spiritually mature Christian possesses a solid understanding of the Bible, applying its teachings to daily life. They seek wisdom from Scripture and use it as a guide for decision-making and ethical living.

4. Humility is their lifestyle.

   Spiritual maturity is characterized by humility. A mature Christian recognizes their dependence on God, acknowledging their imperfections and extending grace to others. They prioritise spiritual things above flesh and lustful desires.

5. Servant Leadership:

   Mature Christians embody the principles of servant leadership, following the example of Jesus Christ. They prioritize serving others with love, compassion, and a genuine desire to meet the needs of those around them.

6. Discernment:

   A spiritually mature Christian possesses discernment, the ability to distinguish between right and wrong, truth and falsehood. They seek God’s guidance and rely on the Holy Spirit to navigate complex situations. They understand their position in Christ. A spiritually mature Christian is not easily swayed by what people say or do. They understand their position in Christ and are never tossed to and fro by trends.

7. Steadfastness in Faith:

   Spiritual maturity is reflected in unwavering faith, even in the face of challenges. Mature Christians persevere through trials, trusting in God’s plan and maintaining their confidence in Him.

8. Generosity and Acts of Kindness:

   Mature Christians exhibit generosity and engage in acts of kindness. Their compassion extends beyond words as they actively contribute to the well-being of others through selfless deeds.

9. Forgiveness:

   A spiritually mature Christian practices forgiveness. They understand the transformative power of forgiveness, both in their relationship with God and in their interactions with others. They are heavenly conscious. A spiritual Christian is heavenly conscious; they have their gaze fixed on the goal, which is heaven.

10. Continuous Growth:

    Spiritual maturity is a journey, not a destination. Mature Christians recognize the need for continuous growth and seek opportunities for spiritual development, embracing new insights and deepening their understanding of God’s plan.

Stages of Spiritual Maturity

There are stages to spiritual maturity, as mentioned in the Bible. Each stage has its peculiarities and characteristics. The stages are:

1. Spiritual Infancy or baby Christians

2. Mature Christians

3. Fully mature Christians

4. Fullness of christ

stages of spiritual maturity
stages of spiritual maturity

Spiritual Infancy (Baby Christians) 1 Corinthians 3:1-5

Spiritual infancy is the beginner stage for Christians. It is the stage where we accept Christ and make a decision to follow him. This stage is very delicate, and baby Christians must attend a church where the undiluted word of God is taught. We are encouraged not to stay long in this stage but to actively progress to maturity.

Matured Christians (Ephesians 4:14-16)

Matured Christians are Christians who have grown and are no longer infants. Matured Christians can understand deeper doctrines and revelations. They can discern and make decisions under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Hebrews 5:14

Fully Matured Christians

Fully matured Christians are Christians who are fully dependent on the Holy Spirit. They do not only eat the meat of the world, they also crack bones. A Christian is fully matured when all their actions are Holy Spirit-inspired without allowing the flesh.

Fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:13-14)

We reach the fullness of Christ when we begin to behave like Christ. This is the stage where a Christian is a replica of Christ. This is the highest stage of spiritual maturity we should all aim for.

Why Is Spiritual Maturity Important?

1. Deeper Relationship with God:

   Spiritual maturity allows Christians to cultivate an intimate relationship with God. Mature believers are better equipped to understand God’s character, communicate with Him effectively through prayer, and experience a deeper connection.

2. Guidance in Decision-Making:

   Mature Christians are more likely to make decisions that align with the bible. Spiritual maturity enables believers to seek God’s guidance, ensuring that our choices align with God’s will and contribute to personal growth.

3. Resilience in Times of Trials:

   Spiritual maturity builds resilience in the face of challenges. Mature Christians rely on the Holy Spirit to navigate difficulties, trusting that God’s strength will sustain them through trials and adversity.

4. Evident fruit of the Spirit

   The fruits of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control—are the natural outcomes of spiritual maturity. These virtues contribute to a more impactful and positive Christian life.

5. Effective Service to Others:

   Spiritual maturity empowers Christians to serve others effectively. Mature believers understand the importance of selfless service and are motivated by a genuine love for their neighbours, contributing positively to their communities.

6. Unity and Fellowship:

   Mature Christians play a vital role in encouraging unity within the Christian community. Their mature perspective enables them to navigate disagreements with grace and wisdom, contributing to a beautiful fellowship.

7. Freedom from Legalism:

   Spiritual maturity helps Christians break free from legalistic thinking. Mature believers understand the balance between grace and accountability, recognizing that their relationship with God is not based on strict adherence to rules alone but also on God’s love and mercy.

8. Impactful Witness to Others:

   A spiritually mature Christian serves as a powerful witness to others. Their transformed lives and Christ-like character make Christianity attractive and credible, drawing others towards the faith.

9. Effective Discipleship:

   Mature Christians are well-equipped to mentor and disciple others. Through their experiences and understanding of Scripture, they can guide newer believers on their journey, providing support and wisdom.

10. Eternal Perspective:

    Spiritual maturity helps Christians maintain an eternal perspective. Mature believers focus on the enduring values of faith, hope, and love, understanding that their ultimate citizenship is in heaven, influencing their priorities and actions in the present.

How can a Christian grow to spiritual maturity?

Growing to spiritual maturity is a gradual process, and it is not a sprint. It takes conscious and decisive effort for believers to reach spiritual maturity. Spiritual growth is like a baby who starts by taking milk, then moves to semi-solids, solids, and even cracking bones. Here are some gradual steps to take till we reach spiritual maturity.

Our spiritual diet is key to reaching spiritual maturity. If we do not consume the right food and in the right proportion, spiritual growth is impossible.

Adelekan Bolanle

1. Constant study of the word:

The word of God is like food to our souls. We need to feed on the word of God constantly. Meditating on his word regularly and allowing his word to dwell richly in us.

2. Praying to God:

Prayer is a way of communicating with God. Prayer is a two-way action; we speak to God, and he responds to us. Regularly giving ourselves to prayer helps to build our spiritual muscles and enables growth.

3. Fasting

Fasting is abstaining from something for some time. The most common type of fasting is abstaining from food. If you are too attached to your phone, you can decide to observe a fast where you will not use your phone for a day; you then dedicate the time to seeking the face of God. Fasting helps our spirit to be more inclined and tuned to God. The aim of fasting is not to persuade God but to help us move closer to him and touch him.

4. Fellowshipping with other brethren

The Bible encourages us not to forsake the fellowship of the brethren. Fellowshipping with other believers helps us grow spiritually. When we come together as believers, we share spiritual insight and revelations, which is beneficial to us.

5. Be consistent in your growth and spiritual activities.

Consistency is key to reaching spiritual maturity. Have a consistent spirit-filled lifestyle and habits. Consistently make time for spiritual activities like quiet time, attending worship and bible study.

6. Allow the Holy Spirit to lead you.

No one can enjoy spiritual growth without the Holy Spirit. We must constantly allow the Holy Spirit to lead us and guide us. We often think some things are small and we do not need the Holy Spirit to help us; this is a lie; allow the Holy Spirit to help in all things.

7. A lifestyle of servant leadership

One of the ways to achieve maturity, which is often overlooked, is serving. Serving others is a way to become spiritually mature. Jesus commanded his disciples to serve. He exemplified it by, washing the feet of his disciple.

8. Access your priorities

Re-aligning your priorities to spiritual things is very necessary. Remove any activity that doesn’t glorify God.

Bible Verses about Spiritual Maturity

1. 1 Corinthians 3:1-3 (NIV):

   – “Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ.”

2. Ephesians 4:13-14 (NIV):

   – “until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.”

3. Colossians 1:28 (NIV):

   – “He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ.”

4. Hebrews 5:14 (NIV):

   – “But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”

5. Philippians 3:15 (NIV):

   – “All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.”

6. James 1:4 (NIV):

   – “Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

7. 2 Peter 3:18 (NIV):

   – “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.”

8. Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV):

   – “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things, there is no law.”

9. 1 Corinthians 14:20 (NIV):

   – “Brothers and sisters, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil, be infants, but in your thinking, be adults.”

10. Hebrews 6:1 (NIV):

    – “Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God.”

11. Colossians 4:12 (NIV):

    – “Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.”

12. 1 Peter 2:2 (NIV):

    – “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.”

13. Ephesians 4:15 (NIV):

    – “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.”

14. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV):

    – “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

15. Hebrews 12:11 (NIV):

    – “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”

16. Philippians 1:9-10 (NIV):

    – “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ.”

17. 1 Corinthians 13:11 (NIV):

    – “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.”

18. Matthew 5:48 (NIV):

    – “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

19. 2 Corinthians 13:11 (NIV):

    – “Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.”

20. Proverbs 4:7 (NIV):

    – “The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.”

Final Thoughts

stages of Spiritual maturity
Image by eko pramono from Pixabay

Philippians 3:12-14; the process of reaching spiritual maturity is an unending process. We are encouraged to keep pressing towards maturity until we become the image of Christ.

Adelekan Bolanle

Becoming spiritually mature is a gradual process that requires dedication and support. We can all attain spiritual maturity and excellence. It is vital that we are never satisfied with the stage we are in but rather pressing forward until we reach the fullness of Christ.

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