In the family of faith there must always be a place for forbearance, compassion and understanding but childishness and immaturity is rampant in today’s Christendom. Most Christians today would not make it a month in first century Christianity. In the first few centuries for those that turned and followed Jesus they basically were spiritually, mentally and physically signing their life away. When Jesus told his close followers, “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear Him who can destroy both soul and body in hell,” and “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God,” He was preparing them for what the future will look like. Jesus and the Apostles were constantly warning and comforting men and women who had put faith in Jesus that their perseverance would be rewarded and the end result would be life and life abundant.
Over the centuries following Jesus has become a benefit instead of a privilege. In my lifetime there has evolved this attitude that this Christian walk is centered around our happiness and self absorbed lives. There has been countless spiritual messages that center on fixing our lives instead of becoming a new creation so that we can handle what is going on in our lives. I think if there is any blame it has to be on many in leadership.
The Bible plainly tells us that we all start out as spiritual babies. Babies cry, demand what they want, do things they shouldn’t and have to learn how to be mature and productive adults. You will hear many parents exclaim that they wish their kids would not grow up but this is not the way God designed life. Just consider all of God’s creation, growing upward is the function of all of life.
If there is one constant theme in the scriptures it would be to love God in all things and mature in Christ so we can make God’s name great among the nations. There is nothing in this scenario about ourselves, our comfort, our problems, what career we end up with or how educated we are. No doubt maturing will influence our choices in life but the whole point of following Jesus is servanthood and not “Your Best Life Now.”
Here are ten signs you are still spiritually immature. ( there are more)
- Your happiness depends on what kind of day you are having. Philippians 4:11 – Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.
- You are very proud of who you are and there is no changing it! Romans 7:24 -Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?
- You are constantly reminding people that you are not perfect and until they walk in your shoes they should not judge you. 1 Corinthians 5:12-13 – For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”
- You blame most of your problems on something else or someone else. Psalms 51:3:4 – For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight.
- One week you’re standing in front of the whole congregation and testifying how awesome God is and days later you’re living as if it never happened. Hebrews 10:38 – but My righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him.
- You are a church hopper. Because of your immaturity you have to bounce from church to church because sooner or later your true self is revealed and the only solution is to start fresh where no one knows you or your past. Mark 7:6 – And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.”
- You refuse to change until someone else changes or your circumstances change. Psalm 51:10 – Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
- Every trial and hardship knocks you further from God instead of building perseverance, trust and faith in God. Job 13:15 – Though He slay me yet will I hope in Him.
- You are always choosing sides and your life is a roller coaster of drama, strife and jealousy. 1 Corinthians 3:2-3 – I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?
- The immature that stay in their immaturity usually never finish the race. Hebrews 5:11-12 – About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God.
As I stated in the beginning leaders and those that are mature in the body of Christ must always maintain an attitude of love, forgiveness and forbearance but we cannot allow ourselves to enable. There comes a time when a person simply knows too much when it comes to the Word of God.
There is a reason why Jesus said, “For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” Following Jesus is probably the hardest step a human could ever take and the only way we can understand living by faith is seeing the example of Jesus Himself. There was this exclusive relationship that Jesus had with the Father. Even though there were extreme times of distress and hostility Jesus devotion to the Father was the real deal. His authentic love for the Father far outweighed anything including Himself. It was literally to die for. The Fathers love for you is no different. The Fathers love for you is proven, tested and tried. When this is fully understood then our love for Him can be realized in our daily living.
The Father desires this incredible relationship with all His children. He demands that we all grow up, mature and start bearing good fruit to the world around us. This starts with a pure heart that will take total ownership of everything. Yes everything! Even the mean, terrible, horrible people and circumstances that have been a part of your earthly life. To grow and mature in Christ we must take ownership of our choices and find contentment in our circumstances. Instead of complaining we must pray for our enemies and endure all things for the glory of our Father. It is all about the Fathers reputation, not ours. If you hearts desire is to be “fit for the Kingdom” then put your hand to the plow and never look back.
Philippians 4:12-14 – I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
1 Timothy 1:5 The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.