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Defining Spiritual Maturity Май 16, 2009

Posted by Alyosha Kolodiy in Актуальная проблема -problem of today, Цитаты Великих - Great Quotes, Today's Devotional.
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STORY1~1A recent Barna survey shows that a majority of America’s churchgoers cannot define what spiritual maturity means. That’s a pretty astounding statistic considering the amount of churches and resources available to Christians in our country. At no time in history have so many people had so much access to books, classes, ministries and education geared toward growing their faith. Yet, most believers cannot articulate what a spiritually mature Christian looks like.

For many of you, that might not be surprising. A lot of Christian men and leaders have been complaining for years about the church’s lack of maturity.

But one of the more interesting stats from the study shows that the problem may be staring at us from the mirror. Nearly 90 percent of pastors said that a lack of spiritual maturity is the most significant, or one of the largest, problems facing the nation; yet a minority of pastors believe that spiritual immaturity is a problemin their church.

What a great «man excuse»:

«Sure—it’s a huge problem; just not for me and my friends.»

Now, to be fair, spiritual maturity is one of those things that is hard to define in a sound bite. It’s a multifaceted thing that you can more easily see in someone’s life than spell out in a sentence.

However, the most troubling stat from the study, for me, was that church leaders could not support the topic biblically. When asked to identify the most important portions of the Bible that define spiritual maturity, 75 percent of pastors gave generic answers, such as «the whole Bible» (33 percent), «the Gospels» (17 percent) or «the New Testament» (15 percent). Just 20 percent cited specific verses in their answer.

How are believers supposed to mature spiritually when our own leaders can’t offer biblical explanations for what that looks like?

The section of Scripture that stands out to me when thinking about spiritual maturity is Galatians 5:22-23: «But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.» God says to us that these qualities are evidence that someone is walking with Him. These are the signs of a Christian, and the more you see them in someone’s life, the more mature, or the more like Christ, that person is.

The beautiful thing about the fruit of the Spirit is that it’s not just a set of rules. In the survey, 81 percent of self-identified Christians said that «trying hard to follow the rules described in the Bible» is a good definition of spiritual health.

I don’t know about you, but most of the spiritually mature men and women I have known and looked up to in my life haven’t been «trying hard» to follow the rules, they just have such a close walk with God that they can’t help but display God’s character. That’s what separates our faith from other religions. We’re not trying desperately to obey the rules lest we get struck down. We have the Spirit, and He gives us a desire to do the things of God. The more you walk with Him; the more He changes you.

That’s what I think about spiritual maturity. How do you define it? What are you striving for in your walk with God, and what kind of believers do you look up to?




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