Does salvation + time + knowledge = spiritual maturity? If not, where does it come from? From years of church membership? From learning how to use Bible software or getting 10 devotionals in your inbox? Does it come with a degree in theology? Or from attending Bible studies week after week? If not, what does it take?
Ezekiel 9 & 10
Does Salvation + Time + Knowledge = Spiritual Maturity?
Where Does Spiritual Maturity Come From?
Where does spiritual maturity come from? Does it happen simply because we show up for church week after week? Or get baptized, learn how to use Bible software or start serving in church? Does it come from attending Bible studies or displaying a Christian bumper sticker?
It’s not to say any of those things are wrong or that they can’t happen as a result of spiritual maturity, but in themselves, they don’t make a mature disciple of Christ. In fact, James 1 says if we’re hearers of the word and not doers, we delude ourselves (Jas. 1.22-25). Often that delusion concerns our own maturity and level of obedience. We think we’re “OK” because we do Christian things.
Going back to our Hebrews 5 passage, let’s read it in the New Living Translation:
11 There is much more we would like to say about this, but it is difficult to explain, especially since you are spiritually dull and don’t seem to listen. 12 You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. 13 For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. 14 Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong.
The writer of Hebrews was addressing those who “ought to be teaching others” because of their exposure to the Word and Christian experience. Instead, they were still babies and needed milk.
But solid food, food that is fit for those who are spiritually mature, is for those who have trained themselves or practiced doing what God says. Spiritual maturity comes as a result of obeying the Word as a way of life, not perfectly, but making that our goal and doing it faithfully.
But before you can grow spiritually, you must be born spiritually (Jn. 3.3). Do you need to examine yourself to see if you are “in the faith” (2 Cor. 13.5)? Do you struggle with doubts about the genuineness of your relationship with God? Make sure you understand the gospel. Don’t let another day pass without having the assurance that you belong to Him.
If you know you belong to Him, could there be some area of life where you are blinded by hearing and not doing? We all need to pray regularly for God to help us avoid spiritual blind spots and if there is some area where you know you’ve not obeyed God, repent and ask for His forgiveness and grace. Then step out in obedience.
Today’s Other Readings:
Ezekiel 9 & 10:
Marked by God
Even as God prepared to bring His judgment on the people, He commanded an angel to go out and put a mark on every person who loved and worshiped Him and who grieved over the spiritual condition of the nation, just as He did before the death angel passed over in Egypt.
The same is true today. All those who belong to Him, those who are born again by the Spirit of God, have His mark. Ephesians 1.13-14:
13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
There will be a day of judgment for everyone. But sadly, there are many who look good on the outside, but because they don’t have a genuine relationship with the Lord are not sealed with the Holy Spirit.
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”
Our church’s founding pastor, John Morgan, often said he believed the church is one of the greatest mission fields. Coming to church, leaving behind some things like drinking and foul language, perhaps even getting involved and hanging around Christians can appease the conscience without any real heart change. As Paul warned some of the Corinthians:
“Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified” (2 Cor. 13.5).
And the psalmist prayed:
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting (Ps. 139.23-24).
He Never Slumbers or Sleeps
Isn’t it good to know that our God never slumbers or sleeps (v. 3-4)? He is there when we call on Him!
A Ruler Who Lacks Understanding
“A ruler who lacks understanding is a great oppressor, but he who hates covetousness will prolong his days.”
Too often, especially in this media age, leadership is determined by a charismatic personality, or the ability to speak well and look good. But leaders should first be chosen because of righteousness, good understanding, selflessness and a godly character.
How has God spoken to you today? Did you see a passage in a new light? Did you see an area where you need to grow and change? Did you find a promise to hold on to? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
In the next few days, we’ll discuss the question of whether we can be addicted to religion or if we could be worshiping idols? We’ll also talk about what it means to be children of light, generational sin, and a slippery spiritual path.
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But there is another, far better and more important righteousness. A righteousness which changes and liberates every aspect of our lives, and yet which none of us can earn or maintain ourselves. It’s a righteousness from God.
Romans 1-7 is all about that righteousness. It shows us why we don t have it, why we need it, and how we can receive it. It thrills us that the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6 v 23).
Join Dr. Timothy Keller as he opens up the first half of the book of Romans, helping you to get to grips with its meaning and showing how it transforms our hearts and lives today.
Have Christians become so preoccupied with “major” sins that we have lost sight of our need to deal with more subtle sins? Navigator author Jerry Bridges addresses the “acceptable” sins that we tend to tolerate in ourselves, including pride and anger. He goes to the heart of the matter, exploring our feelings of shame and grief and opening a new door to God’s forgiveness and grace. Travel down the road of spiritual formation with Jerry and discover your true identity as a loved child of God. A discussion guide is available separately.
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