Some people invest a lot of time maintaining their physical bodies; others invest in their minds through expensive educations, and some do both–nothing wrong with it. We should be good stewards of all we have. However, as three-part beings; body, soul, and spirit, we often forget and even neglect, the third and arguably, the most important aspect of our nature.
Did you know it’s not only possible but unfortunately, common for Christians to remain spiritually immature?
Imagine for a moment, a silhouetted line-up of characters with their backs up against a height chart; some short, others tall. But instead of each representing a different person, they are a reflection of the various aspects of you, as a person.
Your physical health is impressive with a silhouette measuring a towering 6’4″ tall. It reflects the fact you are in excellent health and have taken good care of your body. Furthermore, let’s say the outline representing your mental health is almost as significant at 6’1″. Then there’s the third silhouette, a distant third in the line-up barely topping the height chart at a scrawny 3’0″. This one represents your spirit.
Would it surprise you? If it did, what would you be willing to do to begin investing in your spiritual growth?
The importance of spiritual maturity
As followers of Christ, our spirits have been born again; a requirement Jesus said, to entering into the kingdom of God. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (Jn. 3:6). However, the writer of Hebrews cautioned that although he had much to teach about Jesus, it was “hard to explain” since some had become “dull of hearing.” Did you hear that? Dull of hearing!
If you’re thinking, “So, I’ve got plenty to do without having to worry about my spirit too?!” Remember, each part of you is important; working together with and impacting the rest. When one is unhealthy, the others are compromised. Therefore, to remain spiritually immature is to be vulnerable. The Bible refers to it as perilous. Peril means an imminent and present danger.
“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe” (Heb. 5:12-13, emphasis added).
To be “unskilled” means to remain ignorant. Not a desirable condition to be sure. Moreover, danger awaits those who remain spiritually immature. To be spiritually immature is to be ignorant of Satan’s devices. And Satan can and will take advantage of the spiritually immature (2 Cor. 2:11).
Therefore, it is not only urgent but critical we mature in the things of Christ.
The Son of God was conceived in the womb of a woman and entered the world as a baby. From infancy to adulthood, He learned and grew and was in every way as we are, faced with the challenges of life. The Bible says, “Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered” (Heb. 5:8). According to Luke, “the Child [Jesus] grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him” (v. 40).
Jesus demonstrated perfect obedience to the Father through the sacrifice of His sufferings and in so doing, He became not only our Redeemer but also our example.
As we mature in the things of Christ, we leave the discussions of elementary principles behind. Something that’s easy to do once they’ve been established in our understanding (Heb. 6:1,2). Only then can we move on to what the Bible calls perfection (in the New King James Version), a word that means “maturity” in the original Greek.
These foundational truths include:
- Repentance from dead works
- Faith towards God
- Doctrine of baptisms
- Laying of hands
- Resurrection of the dead
- Eternal judgement
If these things are elementary, can you imagine how much more God has in store?
What it means to remain spiritually immature
Like progress in any other area, growth requires a consistent and intentional effort.
Maturing in the things of the spirit is natural. You were, after all, created in God’s image. And the Bible says God is a Spirit. By divine design, you function best when you grow and mature; physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Those who are spiritually mature
A maturing believer is someone who becomes skilled in the word of righteousness. “For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe” (Heb. 5:14). The Amplified version calls him a “spiritual infant.”
In contrast, those who are spiritually mature, have trained their senses through the practice of discernment between that which is morally good and what is evil.
When we learn and grow in the things of God, we no longer need others to teach us the fundamental principles. Instead, we become teachers and work with God to raise up and help others who are less mature.
Scripture encourages us to mature by exercising our spiritual senses. As you practice “through use,” you will grow and mature in the word of righteousness (equity of character; to be justified, and in right-standing with God). Maturing in the things of the spirit requires commitment and consistent effort.
The benefits of maturity are without limit for those who become skilled in the word of righteousness.
Are you willing to commit to growing and maturing in the things of the spirit? If so, how?