Further on identifying or recognizing spiritual immaturity, the last post looked at assessing yourself or your proposed spouse based on your personal observation of certain features and attributes, or the lack thereof, which are often considered to be signs of spiritual maturity while, in fact, they are not.
This installment is going to consider things from a more corporate perspective. There are things or settings and situations that seem to indicate that a person has come of “spiritual age” and these are based on how the person is viewed in the light of his corporate standing in the church.
Number of years in church
I remember it was a common humor point during teachings and discussions in my school fellowship many years ago to make reference to spiritual babies taking milk from feeding bottles and then describe those who have been in church for years and years but have remained babies still drinking milk only that their bottles are gigantic ones.
In the physical, a baby truly grows with time, so much so that a standard growth chart exists that matches expected height and body weight to number months and years since birth. Deviations of a significant degree would require investigation and intervention where possible. But we never assume that all it takes for a baby to grow properly and attain full adult stature and mature body organ functions is time. We all know that what a child eats contributes significantly to the growth rate and pattern. Other things like the particular environment, genetics and frequency of health setbacks also contribute to the final size, form and function of an individual over time.
1Peter 2:1 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,
1Pe 2:2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.
A number of things in the above verses are worthy of note.
- Growth is not automatic. Spiritual maturity also depends on so much more than just the number of years spent in a church or the number of years since you got born again. If it was, it wouldn’t have said “may grow”.
- If all you feed on is devilish rubbish, you won’t grow at all. That’s why it lists some growth deterring items to take off your menu. It says, “laying aside”. Look up Colosioans 3:8, Ephesians 4:22 and you’ll get much the same gist. 2 Timothy 3:1-7 describes in greater detail and describes them as such as arre “ever learning but unable to come to the knowledge of the truth”.
Some things belong with the old man which has passed away with the new birth. Indulging in them is basically eating your vomit [eeeewwwwww!] and you can’t grow your spirit that way.
- Your spiritual diet must be balanced and age appropriate. It says “sincere milk”. If you don’t eat good balanced spiritual diet, you will either not grow at all or you won’t attain the full stature that is locked in your spiritual genes as a child of God. Poorly balanced doctrine or unscriptural teachings filling your head in church won’t grow your spirit; same goes for continuously exposing yourself to teachings you do not understand at all. (Matthew 13:18-23)
All this is possible in a sincerely born again God loving Christian and committed church member who is poorly fed and, no matter how long he/she or you stay in church without taking in the word of God, no growth will be recorded even if everyone mistakes you for a spiritual giant.