As believers, we all desire to be spiritually mature in our walk with the Lord. We want to be more like Christ in our hearts, speech, thoughts, lives and our relationships with others. We start our Christian walk as children and gradually grow up into adulthood and it is a process that differs with each of us.What does it look like to be a mature Christian?
Many times we can equate spiritual maturity with our knowledge of the Scriptures, how many verses we have memorized, where we attend church, or how many bible studies we've participated in our lives. These are all good things, and the Lord uses the Bible to bring us to maturity but what does it look like to be a mature Christian?
“Do you know what the measure of spiritual maturity is in the Scriptures? It is not the display of spiritual emotion or even the display of spiritual gifts, but the manifestation of spiritual fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control.”
~ Greg Koukl
The characteristics of spiritual maturity are laid out for us in Galatians 5:22-23:
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Verse 22 in Galatians starts with a “but” so we know there is a contrast going on there. The contrast is the desires of the flesh against the desires of the Spirit. The only way we can bring forth fruit of the spirit is to walk in the Spirit obediently. The fruit of the Spirit are the marks of a spiritually mature Christian.
Did you notice fruit of the Spirit is singular? It's a package deal. This is fruit the Holy Spirit produces in our lives as believers as we are walking in His grace and power and are submitted to and controlled by the Spirit (Eph. 5:18). When we are yielded to His work in lives, the fruit will be what is on display outwardly in our lives.
“the way to see these nine virtues is like a bouquet of the most beautiful flowers….it doesn’t come as isolated things side-by-side in a row. Fruit is a beautiful bouquet of virtues. That’s what the Holy Spirit produces in someone who walks by the Spirit. And you will see them all on display.”
~ John MacArthur
In a sermon on the Fruit of the Spirit, John MacArthur shared that they are all attitudes listed. We will act in accordance with God's Word if our attitudes are submissive to the Spirit at work in our lives. He stated in the sermon when someone wants to know if we're a Chrisitan have them stick around with us for awhile. If what you see coming out are the attitudes of love, joy peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control then that is how we are putting our salvation on display to a lost world around us.
As we abide in Christ, we naturally bear fruit.
Life, not law, changes behavior; and as you yield to the Spirit, Christ’s life is manifest in the fruit of the Spirit.
~ Warren Wiersbe
Galatians 5:22 “is” is in the present tense (but the fruit of the Spirit is). Which means fruit-bearing is continuous.
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. ~Philippians 1:6
We know that fruit trees bear whatever fruit is natural for them. It is the same in our spiritual walk. Believers in Jesus Christ will bear Spiritual fruit (Galatians 5:22-23). When the Spirit changes our nature, the fruit of our lives will be the character of Christ.
The relationships in our lives are hungry for this good fruit. Who in our lives needs to be shown: Love? Patience? Kindness? Our fruit-bearing is not for selfish reasons but to feed and to help others.
Granted us Everything:
seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. ~ 2 Peter 1:3
The word everything in 2 Peter 1:3 means everything, no exceptions. We are given in Christ everything we need to grow to spiritual maturity. We are complete in Christ. God has given us everything we need pertaining to life and godliness.God has given us everything we need pertaining to life and godliness.
We are empowered by the grace of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us to live and walk as Christ did. May we live our lives in such an awareness of God's presence within us.
May we take the time to read and study the Word but not to gain a head full of knowledge but to gain knowledge of the God of the Bible who truly brings about change in our lives. As we know more of who God is it will point us to how much we are not like Him and bring us to repentance and that's where true heart change begins.Spiritual maturity, simply stated, is Christlikeness.
We will never gain full maturity while on this earth. Our lives will be a continual progression of spiritual growth. Spiritual maturity, simply stated, is Christlikeness. The more we are like Christ, the more spiritually mature we are.
We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. ~ Colossians 1:28
The word complete in Colossians 1:28 is the Greek word “teleios” which means perfect or fully mature. It is to be full grown and like Christ. Paul didn't want us, believers, to be partially like Christ but fully, that the fruit of the Spirit was evident in our lives and we were becoming day by day, through the trials, circumstances, and relationships in our lives more like Christ.
Is fruit evident in our lives? Do we see growth? Are we progressing? May we, by His grace, press on to spiritual maturity and become full grown and like Christ (Philippians 3:14).
“When God prunes us, the result will be greater growth and sweeter fruit… Pruning usually takes place when God uses situations, people, and circumstances to help mature us in our Christian disposition, attitude, and temperament… The way we respond when we are pruned reveals our true level of spiritual maturity.”
~ Bunny Wilson, Biblical Womanhood in the Home