I have seen a trend of people who profess to have been Christians for a long time, but are not very mature spiritually. Some of these people are the most difficult to minister to, because they equate spiritual maturity to time, rather than development. I absolutely believe that God takes time to develop people, but time itself is not the only factor in determining where someone is in their spiritual walk.
On the other side of things, I meet young men and woman who have been practicing Christians for a very short period of time and they profess to be spiritually mature. They don’t see the need to be patient in their development and believe they are fully equipped as they are. They are very passionate about Jesus and have an outer appearance of maturity, but there is an underlying immaturity in the spirit that gets exposed during offense, temptation, and endurance.
When we look at both of these types, there seems to be a need for clarity of what it really takes to be spiritually mature. The spirit of God has shown me that there are four levels of maturity in the spirit. They are:
- Being Born Again – John 3:3
- Walking In The Spirit- Galatians 5:16
- Gifts & Assignments Of The Spirit – Romans 12:6
- Laying Down Life For The Spirit – John 15:13
The first step of maturing in the spirit is being born again. When you receive Jesus as your lord and savior and repent of your sings, the bible says that you are born again. You are Born of the spirit. This point of salvation starts the process of making you spiritually mature.
After you receive Jesus as your lord and savior, and become born again, the Holy Spirit enters into your life and begins to challenge everything about you that is not of God. The bible is clear that our bodies become the temple of the Holy Spirit. God wants nothing of the world in his temple. Every sin is challenged and every character trait is lined of with the will of God. This is a place that many get stuck in their spiritual development in God. They don’t want to stop sinning, or make excuses about sin. Some people will go on for years claiming that they are a work in progress, not understanding that their growth is directly tied to allowing God to transform them. Some will overcome all the visible sins and retain all the inward sins, producing a false image of holiness.
After much trial and struggle with the flesh some Christians are able to overcome the flesh and enter into a place where God begins to deal with them in their gifts and assignments. This is the third phase, where God really begins to define his perfect will for your life and the gifts/tools he has given you to use. Some people may look at this as the final place of maturity were God is using you and you are being effective in his will. However there is place in maturity that God wants to take his people to. Not many get there because they stumble at understanding the greater maturity. Some even fall backwards spiritually when they become prideful in their gifts or assignments.
The Fourth level of maturity in the spirit, is lowering your significance for the greater, which is the significance of God. It is also realizing that your maturity is for the benefit & maturing of others. It’s not about you name or what you are doing, but about what God is doing and how he is impacting others. This is a hard place to be because it requires you to die to yourself and realize that nothing starts or stops with you, you are a part of a larger and greater plan for God’s people.
When you look back at these levels of spiritual maturity, it comes with time, testing, inward, and outward transformation by the Holy Spirit. If you stay diligent and humble, I believe that you will mature spiritually and God will bless many people through your obedience to his will.