Over the years, I've done a little bit of thinking about what "spritual maturity" looks like, particularly within the context of a church community. Here's some (not all) thoughts I've had.
True spiritual maturity happens through a process we often call discipleship. They type of discipleship Jesus modeled for us was dependent on relationships. Therefore spiritual maturity happens as people are connected to one another.
I believe these connections can be identified in three relationships every Christ-follower engages in:
- A relationship with God which is characterized by love. (Mark 12:30)
- A relationship with our neighbors which is characterized by love. (Mark 12:31)
- A relationship with other believers which is characterized by love. (John 13:34)
Exploring their faith. Every person should take stock of their current state, examine the offer Christ extends, and seek understanding of the commitment required to enter the kingdom of God.
Launching their spiritual journey. Once convinced, every convert to the way of Jesus should publicly declare their new relationship with Jesus and His church through the sacrament of baptism.
Partnering with other believers. Because the Christian life is best lived in shared relationship with other believers, every Christ-follower should identify themselves with a community of believers for the purpose of being formed to the image of Christ and of being a formative influence in the lives of others.
Investing their resources in the kingdom. Because Christ is Lord of all we have (our resources, our gifts, our time, etc.), we are to utilize all we have in the way we believe Jesus would. Therefore, since the example of Jesus was one of sacrifice and service, every believer should seek to use all their resources to sacrificially serve all with whom they come into contact.
Engaging their circles of influence. The true sign of a kingdom subject is multiplication. Those who have accepted life of Christ in place of their own demonstrate their faith by acting like Christ in the world. In death, Christ redeemed sinners, thus we seek to bring that redemption to all within our circles of influence. Throughout his life, Christ relieved suffering, thus we strive to relieve suffering whenever we encounter it.
That's not all I have to say about that!