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How Old Are You, Spiritually?

What if our physical aging and maturing is symbolic of our spiritual aging and maturing?  Even as our bodies grow an developed they are still completely dependent on water and nutrition.  As we keep it hydrated and fed, it grows.  As toddlers and children grow into the teens and young adulthood; our parents or parental figures in our lives discipline us and help mold us into adults acceptable to the cultural and societal standards.  Our parents and older siblings help mold us all throughout our lives.

When we come to faith in Jesus Christ; we are Born Again.  As we learn and seek the Lord we grow in a child like faith.  As time goes on and the Lord disciplines our spirit, we are then expected to be more mature in faith.  As we reach spiritual adulthood we look more and more like Christ.  All the while we are fed by God's Word and grown by The Holy Spirit.  God The Father and our older spiritual siblings mold us though discipleship all throughout our lives.

The similarities of our physical maturity and spiritual maturity are uncanny. But as our body is in the world, our spirit is in Christ.

The Goal of Spiritual Maturity:

In Philippians 3:12-14 Paul discuss the idea of growing and maturing in faith.  At his state at the time of writing, He declares that he is not perfect but continues to press on toward perfection in a heavenward direction.  The prize is being made perfect and free from the flesh and its temptations and corruptions. 

How Do You Grow In Spiritual Maturity?

In Romans 12:1-2 Paul gives a few maturing pointers.
  1. Sacrifice your own wants and desires for God; seek God's will and what pleases Him, not you.
  2. Do not see the world through your eyes but through God's eyes.  Transform your mind by understanding what God says Himself and about the world he created. 
  3. Test the world.  Things that you are told and taught should be tested against God's Word.  That's how you can and will know God's Will.
  4. Continually seek God's will and not yours or the worlds.
In Galatians 5:16 Paul tell us to walk in the spirit and as a result we won't "gratify the desires of the flesh".  As we mature, we walk in the spirit. Walking in the spirit is maturing. 

The Water And Food Of The Spirit

But we can't continue to walk in the spirit and grow more mature if we don't feed our spirit.  The food is simply to know, understanding, trusting, and live God's Word.  In 2 Timothy 2:15 and 3:16 Paul tells Timothy to "rightly handle the word of truth" because it is "profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work."

Notice how everything is centered around God.  What He finds pleasing and what His will is.  He is the one that leads us in maturity and is the source of spiritual growth (2 Peter 1:3-9).

What Does Spiritual Maturity Look Like inwardly?

This is primarily based on how well the person knows, understands, trusts, and lives out God's Word.  In Hebrews 5:13-14 the author talks about now that we have been given the milk (The Gospel) it is necessary to mature by really diving into God's Word and study the truths that are contained in it.  To really grow our spirit and eat the meat and not just the baby formula. 

The desire and ability to distinguish good and evil to know God's will and see man's sinful will; is a hallmark of spiritual maturity. 

What Does Spiritual Maturity Look Like outwardly?

Love is one of the defining factors of Spiritual maturity (John 13:34-35).  And genuine Love of the heart outwardly looks like this (1 Corinthians 13:4-7):
  1. Love is patient,
  2. love is kind.
  3. It does not envy,
  4. it does not boast, it is not proud.
  5. It does not dishonor others,
  6. it is not self-seeking,
  7. it is not easily angered,
  8. it keeps no record of wrongs.
  9. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 
  10. It always protects,
  11. always trusts,
  12. always hopes,
  13. always perseveres.
1 Thessalonians 5:13-22 also describes the outward expectation of inward maturity:

  1. Live in peace with each other.
  2. warn those who are idle and disruptive,
  3. encourage the disheartened,
  4. help the weak,
  5. be patient with everyone.
  6. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong,
  7. always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.
  8. Rejoice always,
  9. pray continually,
  10. give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
  11. Do not quench the Spirit.
  12. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good,
  13. reject every kind of evil.

Fruit of The Spirit:

Visible Spiritual Maturity is called "Fruit of The Spirit". These are characteristics and qualities that our Spirit WILL produce in us and will manifest outwardly in our lives.  It is this 'fruit' that God finds pleasing and desires for all of us to produce because the fruit ultimately glorifies Him as it reflects His character. 

Galatians 5:22-23

"the fruit of the Spirit is:
  1. love,
  2. joy,
  3. peace,
  4. patience,
  5. kindness,
  6. goodness,
  7. faithfulness,
  8. gentleness,
  9. self-control;
against such things there is no law."

How Old Are You Spiritually?

There are two ways to test your spiritual age. 

1.  Use 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 and replace "love" with your name, then read it.  How well does it describe you?
2.  Use 1 Thessalonians 5:13-22 and add the words "Do you..." before each one.  How well does it describe you?

If any of these are lacking or you want to continue to grow up spiritually, it all depends on your knowledge, understanding, trust, and expression of God's Word.  Deep in-depth Bible studies are food for the soul.

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