Do you want to grow in spiritual maturity?
Christians need to grow in spiritual maturity because they are born again. All of life becomes new at the point of committing your life to Christ. Therefore, we must grow into spiritual maturity so that we may walk as Jesus walked.
Because it is our job to be in a relationship with Jesus Christ, and it is His desire to be in a relationship with us, we must work in unison with Christ as His Holy Spirit moves us to spiritual maturity. Moses had the most challenging job of leading the children of Israel into the Promised Land. Moses’ mountain top experience on Mount Sinai soon crashed to the pits of despair when he found that the people had created a golden calf to worship. Despondent, he petitioned the Lord.
Seek God’s guidance like Moses did.
Moses said to the Lord, “You have been telling me, ‘Take these people up to the Promised Land.’ But you haven’t told me whom you will send with me. You call me by name and tell me I have found favor with you. Please, if this is really so, show me your intentions so I will understand you more fully and do exactly what you want me to do. Besides, don’t forget that this nation is your very own people.”Exodus 33:12–17 NLT
And the Lord replied, “I will personally go with you, Moses. I will give you rest—everything will be fine for you.”
Then Moses said, “If you don’t go with us personally, don’t let us move a step from this place. If you don’t go with us, how will anyone ever know that your people and I have found favor with you? How else will they know we are special and distinct from all other people on the earth?”
And the Lord replied to Moses, “I will indeed do what you have asked, for you have found favor with me, and you are my friend.”
You can’t grow in spiritual maturity by yourself.
When God chose Moses to lead the children of Israel to the Promised Land, He did not intend for Moses to complete the job all by himself. God desired to have a personal relationship with Moses, not just a Savior relationship with the Israelites. When we complain to God, He gives the same response: “I will personally go with you, Moses. I will give you rest—everything will be fine for you.”
But do we respond as Moses did? “If you don’t go with us personally, don’t let us move a step from this place.” It seems that most often, we start running in all directions, trying to find where God wants us to go and what He wants us to do, instead of waiting for Him to go with us personally. If only we would consistently reply, “I will not move a step if You don’t go with me.”
Collaborate with God for spiritual maturity.
Second Peter invites us to collaborate with God for spiritual maturity. Jesus works in us through the Holy Spirit, enabling us to embrace the divine character of God. As a result of His enablement, we now have the ability to exhibit His nature. For this reason, we are to exert every effort to complement our faith by following His example.
In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.2 Peter 1:5–11 NLT
The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins.
So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things, and you will never fall away. Then God will give you a grand entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Pay attention to God to grow in spiritual maturity.
Then he added, “Pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given—and you will receive even more. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them.”Mark 4:24–25 NLT
As we follow His example, we operate with discernment to determine His way. By participating with God, we can see what is right versus wrong, what is good versus evil, what is healthy versus dysfunctional, what is truthful versus deceitful, thereby protecting us from the corruption of our self-centered way. We are empowered to live beyond ourselves.
Paul offers his life as an example of how frustrating it is to live outside a desperately dependent relationship with Christ.
I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.Romans 7:21–25 NLT
Pursue God to grow in spiritual maturity.
Only by connecting to Jesus Christ our Lord can we be free from the dominating struggle that threatens to consume us. When we are given a set of rules to follow, our sinful tendency is to rebel and assert our independence. But pursuing God frees us from the control of our sinful selves.
With our agenda no longer at the forefront, we are now freed from the dominance of our desires to therefore follow God consistently and achieve His purpose. A fulfilling relationship emerges as God connects to us, we connect to God, and others experience the overflow of our divinely empowered connection.
Proverbs outlines how to grow in spiritual maturity.
We have repeatedly emphasized the fact that God desires an intimate relationship with us. But the choice remains ours as individuals. Will I be desperately dependent? God created me. He cares for me. And He knows what is best for me. But will I choose to let Him control every area of my life from His perspective? Will I invite Him to come into my life? Or do I want to hold on to my will and my ways? With all things considered, am I willing to embrace Jesus to allow Him full reign in my life? If the answer is yes, then Proverbs tells us what to do.
My child, listen to what I say,
and treasure my commands.
Tune your ears to wisdom,
and concentrate on understanding.
Cry out for insight,
and ask for understanding.
Search for them as you would for silver;
seek them like hidden treasures.
Then you will understand what it means to fear the Lord,
and you will gain knowledge of God.
For the Lord grants wisdom!
From his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest.
He is a shield to those who walk with integrity.
He guards the paths of the just
and protects those who are faithful to him.
Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair,Proverbs 2:1–11 NLT
and you will find the right way to go.
For wisdom will enter your heart,
and knowledge will fill you with joy.
Wise choices will watch over you.
Understanding will keep you safe.
Desperate dependency causes you to grow in spiritual maturity.
He desires to be your God. He is prepared to lead and control every area of your life. For this reason, He died to be your Savior. He lives to be your sustainer. And He also offers to be your benefactor. When you genuinely choose to experience the God who is actively pursuing you, you will actively pursue Him.
Jesus makes Himself available and attainable. If we desire a relationship with Him, we may have an abundant life as a result of His grace and mercy. In short, all this is accessible by our desperate dependency on Christ. The most essential discipline of faith is dependency. Our dependency defines the course of all we do.
When we are desperately dependent, our eager search for truth fosters a looming desire to know the heart and mind of God.
Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom.Proverbs 9:10 NLT
Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.
Spiritual disciplines promote spiritual maturity.
Prayer, Bible reading, and church attendance are ways to connect to God. But God did not design these disciplines as an obligation to be completed as a part of our daily routine. Prayer, for example, is the avenue whereby we can talk to God and communicate whatever is on our hearts. We don’t need to merely talk to ourselves throughout the day because we have the privilege of interacting with Him at any given moment for any given reason.
Never stop praying.1 Thessalonians 5:17 NLT
With eager anticipation, we can embark on each new encounter with Him because it affords us the privilege of maturing into Christlikeness. There is no greater goal in life than receiving from His hand what God intends for us to enjoy.
What can we bring to the Lord?
Should we bring him burnt offerings?
Should we bow before God Most High
with offerings of yearling calves?
Should we offer him thousands of rams
and ten thousand rivers of olive oil?
Should we sacrifice our firstborn children
to pay for our sins?
No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good,Micah 6:6–8 NLT
and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right, to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with your God.
Spiritual growth requires active participation.
Spiritual maturity does not just happen because we complete a to-do list. Growth requires active participation in a relationship with Christ. Therefore, as we grow to understand God, His heart, and His plans for us, we realize that our lives cannot prosper without Him. Subsequently, it is only by depending on Christ may we reflect His likeness.
Further, as we live lives that are desperately dependent on Christ, the resulting connection will magnify the Lord. Additionally, realizing that our central focus of life is to make Him look wonderful, the dross of the world falls away. Our unified adventure with God supplies purpose and meaning to life as we grow to become more and more like Christ.
Psalm 143 Prayer Pattern promotes spiritual growth.
Psalm 143 Prayer Pattern promotes dependency and spiritual growth. As you learn How to Be a Good Christian, How to Put God First in Your Life, and How to Grow in Spiritual Maturity, use this Psalm to petition God’s guidance and assistance. Use Psalms Prayer Patterns to pour out your heart to God while acknowledging your weakness and His strength as you grow deeper in your relationship with Him.
- How can you apply these verses to your life?
And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.
Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.Colossians 2:6–10 NLT
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Excerpts from Desperate Dependency by J. Kirk & Melanie D. Lewis.
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1C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York: HarperCollins, 2001), 227.