By Ryan Shaw
One of the works the Holy Spirit is doing right now is seeking to propel believers into spiritual maturity. It is His purpose to develop, form and discipline us (motivated by great love) so that maturity begins to settle over us.
Hebrews 5:12-14 describes the state of the church today.
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. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
We’ve become so used to our current state that the idea of the existence of much more is surprising and we are often skeptical. We want to buy into the reality that we are only at the beginning of what God has for us and is calling us to. God is seeking to awaken His people to pursue the heights and depths of what it means to be mature in Him.
This process begins with humbling ourselves, setting our hearts and ordering our schedules around a commitment to go deep in personal study of the Word of God. We often wrongly think we’ve somehow mastered the Bible and don’t need to spend daily time in it anymore.
In committing ourselves in this way, two critical things take place. First, our hearts are spiritually strengthened with might to overcome temptation and second, we grow in understanding of the ways of God.
Studies show that those who call themselves born-again believers are just as prone to succumb to sinful activities as anyone else. The difference is those believers who are reading, meditating, studying and praying the Scripture. These are more likely to stand against the tide of temptation.
Why? The Bible is more than a mere book. When we allow it to reveal our hearts penetrate us with truth and show us that which pleases God, there is actual spiritual power released to us. Unbeknown to us transference of spiritual might has been imparted to us. It strengthens us as we face the temptations and difficulties of life.
One of the primary pursuits of true believers is to be a student of the ways of God. His ways are beyond human intellect. The Holy Spirit reveals them, step by step, to our spirits, as we seek Him.
As we dig into His Word, inviting the Spirit to teach, reveal and provide practical understanding, over time, He will do so. Remember, He is not about the sprint but the marathon. It does not happen overnight as some hope, but as we stick with it for months, years, even decades. This is part of growing in spiritual maturity.
Growing in spiritual knowledge and walking in the ways of God are very important right now. But this importance will grow even more crucial in the days to come. Failing to align with God’s ways will produce catastrophic results.
Further practical ways we grow up into spiritual maturity include:
• Returning to our first love of Jesus Christ (keeping the First Commandment first – Matthew 22:37)
• Turning from complacency and growing with wholehearted following of Christ
• Embracing suffering for the sake of Christ
• Preserving the Truth of God’s Word and not tolerating its compromise
• Living simply and giving more resources to the Great Commission and poor
• Growing in holiness and maintaining high standards of morality
• Forsaking the reputation of being spiritual and instead seeking to please God
• Pursuing greater maturity in the gifts of the Holy Spirit
• Turning the hearts of the Fathers to the children, including orphans and children at risk
• Becoming a people doing Biblical justice
• Working with God in transforming nations through Kingdom principles
• Arising in greater dimensions of unity in the prayer movement
• Maturing in abounding, authentic love in relationships.