Many Christians believe themselves to be spiritually mature. In many cases, that might be so, however, there are cases in which one might be mistaken. The qualities that people often believe are fruit of spiritual maturity fail to meet the mark.
When speaking of a Christian who is spiritually mature, one who possesses many spiritual gifts comes to mind. If a person does not have multiple spiritual gifts, then a mature person will operate strongly in one, according to some.
The final authority as to the definition of spiritual maturity is the Word of God. We will now see what the Bible has to say.
Be a Doer of the Word, Not a Hearer Only
James 1:22 tells us that we must not only hear the word of God, but we must also do what it says. People can quote the Bible, both in and out of context. Even Satan knows the scriptures as seen in the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness. Knowing the Word is not enough. Having the wisdom to apply it to our lives and live it is evidence of true spiritual maturity.
I have lived a hypocritical lifestyle in the past. I am far from perfect now, but I strive to seek to obey the Lord. I say this because many people live hypocritically. If they make it to church, they certainly do not take what they learn outside the four walls. If this is you, simply repent and ask the Lord to help you live authentically.
How Do You Treat People?
It sad to say that many people consider themselves to be spiritual yet these same people will speak harshly to the waitress in a restaurant or demonstrate impatience with the cashier at the grocery store. Some are mean to the members of their own immediate family. Whatever the reasons are for this attitude, going to the Lord and seeking transformation is a must.
Social media is a soap box for some Christians to air their ill feelings toward others. I am a firm believer that social media can be used for the glory of God, but more often, it is used to bash others. If you derive pleasure from bashing people on Facebook, in gossip, or even speaking rudely to others in person, you need a renewing of your mind. You need to humble yourself and see that God is not pleased when any Christian mistreats someone else.
How Is Your Love Walk?
John 13:34-35 reminds us that people will know we belong to God by our love for other Christians. The fruit of the Spirit is love (Galatians 5:22). While spiritual gifts are wonderful and God certainly wants us to have them, they are not the fruit of who we. The fruit of the Spirit demonstrates that we are allowing the Holy Spirit to work in us. We will not walk in sinless perfection, but we will not be using grace as a license to sin.
Another important point to note here is that godly love is not always a feeling. While our emotions eventually line up with the direction in which we go, we cannot rely on our feelings to tell us whether or not we are walking in love. It is a choice to obey God and treat people right no matter what our feelings are telling us.
The Bottom Line
Spiritual gifts are wonderful! I thank God that He gives gifts to many. His gifts and callings are without repentance according to Romans 11:29. We should enjoy these gifts and seek God’s leading as to their use. However, we must realize that spiritual gifts are not a mark of spiritual maturity. Walking in the love of God and obedience to His word are both evidence of true spiritual maturity.