There is one more thing I would like to point out as an indicator of spiritual immaturity and that is how the person’s life is affected by the word of God. I’ve always said if you want to know where a person stands, give him the truth, viz; the word of God.
So let’s apply this ultimate parameter and judge of our thoughts and actions. How does the word identify the immature Christian?
- The inability to effectively handle the word of God.
1Peter 2:2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.
Hebrews 5:13 – 6:2 For every one that useth milk [is] unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, [even] those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
Babies in Christ, are such as still struggle with the basic principles of God’s word as pertains their relationship, connection and ultimate end with God. Sometimes due to their lack of personal diligence to study the word for themselves or being unfortunate to fall into the hands of tricksters masquerading as teachers of the word of God, they remain unable to skillfully or correctly use the word of God as their compass for life in issues of morality, righteousness and faith towards God.
Ephesians 4:14 That we [henceforth] be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, [and] cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.
As long as one remains a baby, his mind is not renewed by the word and his mentality will remain God-less and thus prone to carnality.
- Lack of Spiritual Wisdom
1Corinthians 13:11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
Luke 2:40 And the child grew [Greek: to grow, enlarge] and waxed strong [Greek: increase in vigor] in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.
Colosians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
With wisdom being the right application of knowledge as drawn from the word of God, if the word of Christ is not dwelling in you richly enough to amount to wisdom, then the Bible says your thinking is still carnal and foolish and childish.
- The inability to understand the will of God
If lacking in spiritual wisdom is being carnal and immature, then consider this also.
Ephesians 5:17 Wherefore be ye not unwise[Greek: mindless, that is, stupid, ignorant, egotistic, rash, or unbelieving:– fool or foolish or unwise], but understanding what the will of the Lord [is].
It means being unable to understand the will and mind of God on issues of life, both here and hereafter, is also a sign of immaturity.
- The inability to resist pride
The Apostle Paul, by the Spirit, in providing guidelines for choosing leaders for the church said this.
1Timothy 3:6 Not a novice [Greek: newly planted, that is, (figuratively) a young convert (“neophyte”): – novice], lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.
This means the inability to resist pride and self glory, though not acceptable, is considered a flaw to which young converts are expectedly prone. Bear in mind that the scriptures describes babies in Christ as carnal.
1Corinthians 3:1, 3 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, [even] as unto babes in Christ … For ye are yet carnal: for whereas [there is] among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
That list of activities that suggest carnality, namely envying, and strife, and divisions, draws my mind to another list.
Galatians 5:19 – 21a Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are [these]; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like.
So it follows that to the extent that you manifest the works of the flesh in general, to that extent you are still carnally minded, a baby in Christ and a spiritually immature person. And this has nothing to do with how long a person has been in the church, saved and Holy Ghost filled, so to speak.
So you can see that assessing spiritual immaturity is really not as vague as we tend to think. Of course we would argue that only God can truly know a man and that is very, very, very true, still all I have pointed out here are things clearly stated in God’s Word and remember, God and His Word are one and the same. Still, consider this scripture:
Hebrews 4:12 For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart. [Amplified]
If analyzing people was not possible by a God-given trustworthy objective standard, then Jesus would not have said in Matthew 7:20 “… by their fruits ye shall know them.” You can be honest with yourself, considering all that you have read just before now, are you a baby in Christ? You can review this person that you are thinking of settling with by the same parameters and see if he measures up with what God would want you to have as a spouse.
This series has reached a point where a review/ summary would be helpful, right? We’ll do that soon.