How do you recognize spiritual maturity? What are the signs? You may be surprised to know that ‘knowledge’ is not one of the signs. Knowledge ‘puffs up,’ according to 1 Corinthians 8:1 NLT. There are scholars with in-depth knowledge of the Bible, yet they are not living it and may not even be Christians. So, while knowledge is definitely something to seek after and increase, love and wisdom are far more important. We are to seek the knowledge of Christ and His ways. We also need to seek to know more about God’s Word. The purpose is to conform ourselves to the image of Christ, strengthen ourselves, and to be able to build up others in their faith. We are to make the 10 signs of spiritual maturity our goal
Being in a church can be a sign of spiritual maturity, However, unfortunately, there are many immature Christians sitting in every church. There are some who blame this on the Pastor and the ‘church’ in general for failing to ‘feed’ them. For others, they feel that just going to church is enough. Expecting someone else to feed you for your entire life is immature. A new Christian, needs help and guidance. All Christians need to be encouraged and challenged while having a source for instruction on things they do not understand. But, after a period of time, we should be feeding ourselves the spiritual food we need by studying – not just reading a verse per day.
The number of tools available to us to truly study the Bible is huge. YouVersion, Bible Gateway and many more have Commentaries, Dictionaries and every version of the Bible you might want. We are need to look deeply into the Word of God.
10 Signs of Spiritual Maturity
The Word is quite clear about our need to grow in spiritual maturity. In addition, the natural realm teaches us that all things must grow and mature. Not to do so, is unnatural. The failure to mature means something is wrong.
Here are some Scriptures exhorting us to Spiritual Maturity:
- “As for you, divinely loved ones, since you are forewarned of these things, be careful that you are not led astray by the error of the lawless and lose your firm grip on the truth. But continue to grow and increase in God’s grace and intimacy with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. May he receive all the glory both now and until the day eternity begins. Amen!” 2 Peter 3:17-18 TPT
- “Now is the time for us to progress beyond the basic message of Christ and advance into perfection. The foundation has already been laid for us to build upon: turning away from our dead works to embrace faith in God, teaching about different baptisms, impartation by the laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. So with God’s enablement we will move on to deeper truths.” Hebrews 6:1-3 TPT
- “In the same way that nursing infants cry for milk, you must intensely crave the pure spiritual milk of God’s Word. For this “milk” will cause you to grow into maturity, fully nourished and strong for life— especially now that you have had a taste of the goodness of the Lord Jehovah and have experienced his kindness.” 1 Peter 2:2-3 TPT
Don’t Be Like Little Children Still Needing Milk
- “We have much to say about this topic although it is difficult to explain, because you have become too dull and sluggish to understand. For you should already be professors instructing others by now; but instead, you need to be taught from the beginning the basics of God’s prophetic oracles! You’re like children still needing milk and not yet ready to digest solid food. For every spiritual infant who lives on milk is not yet pierced by the revelation of righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, whose spiritual senses perceive heavenly matters. And they have been adequately trained by what they’ve experienced to emerge with understanding of the difference between what is truly excellent and what is evil and harmful.” Hebrews 5:11-14 TPT
Don’t Be Easily Shaken
- “These grace ministries will function until we all attain oneness in the faith, until we all experience the fullness of what it means to know the Son of God, and finally we become one perfect man with the full dimensions of spiritual maturity and fully developed in the abundance of Christ. And then our immaturity will end! And we will not be easily shaken by trouble, nor led astray by novel teachings or by the false doctrines of deceivers who teach clever lies. But instead we will remain strong and always sincere in our love as we express the truth. All our direction and ministries will flow from Christ and lead us deeper into him, the anointed Head of his body, the church.” Ephesians 4:13-15 TPT
- “Here are kingdom revelations, words to live by, and words of wisdom given to empower you to reign in life, written as proverbs by Israel’s King Solomon, David’s son. Within these sayings will be found the revelation of wisdom and the impartation of spiritual understanding. Use them as keys to unlock the treasures of true knowledge.” Proverbs 1:1-2 TPT
Living in the Flesh is a Sign of Immaturity
- “My brothers and sisters, I cannot address you as people who walk by the Spirit; I have to speak to you as people who tend to think in merely human terms, as spiritual infants in the Anointed One. I nursed you with milk, as a mother would feed her baby, because you were not, and still are not, developed enough to digest complex spiritual food. And here’s why: you are still living in the flesh, not in the Spirit. How do I know? Are you fighting with one another? Are you comparing yourselves to others and becoming consumed with jealousy? Then it sounds like you are living in the flesh, no different from the rest who live by the standards of this rebellious and broken world.” I Corinthians 3:1-3 The Voice
- “To achieve this, you will need to add virtue to your faith, and then knowledge to your virtue; to knowledge, add discipline; to discipline, add endurance; to endurance, add godliness; to godliness, add affection for others as sisters and brothers; and to affection, at last, add love. For if you possess these traits and multiply them, then you will never be ineffective or unproductive in your relationship with our Lord Jesus the Anointed; but if you don’t have these qualities, then you will be nearsighted and blind, forgetting that your past sins have been washed away. Therefore, brothers and sisters, work that much harder to confirm that God has called you and claimed you. If you do this, then you will never fall along the way;” 2 Peter 1:5-10 The Voice
Growing in the Knowledge of God is a Personal Responsibility
- “Instead, by truth spoken in love, we are to grow in every way into Him—the Anointed One, the head. He joins and holds together the whole body with its ligaments providing the support needed so each part works to its proper design to form a healthy, growing, and mature body that builds itself up in love.” Ephesians 4:15-16 The Voice
- “so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,” Colossians 1:10 NIV
- “Brothers and sisters, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults.” 1 Corinthians 14:20 NIV
- “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:12-17 NIV
Train Yourself to Be Godly
- “Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly.” 1 Timothy 4:7 NIV
- “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15 NIV
Whatever the reason for a failure to mature as a Christian, here are 10 signs of Spiritual Maturity.
- Continually seeking to grow and learn.
- Taking personal responsibility for your own spiritual growth.
- Applying what you have learned.
- Not allowing Self-pity to become a stronghold
- Serving others
- Spiritually and emotionally stability
- Having good, solid, long-lasting relationships with those who are also growing and maturing.
- Not offended, defensive or threatened by those with a different point of view
- Able to encourage, teach and build up themselves and each other.
- Part of a strong fellowship that challenges them toward ever-greater maturity.
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Continually Seek to Grow and Learn
I am seventy years old and have been in church since I was nineteen. At first, I needed to be fed because, when I opened the Bible, I had no idea what I was even reading. So, for a time, others fed me. Then, I began to search the word for myself and continue receiving some food from others. I eventually reached a point where I was upset because, when I went to church, it was all just things I had heard before. I thought I needed something deeper and more profound, but finally learned how very wrong I was. What I needed was the 10 Signs of Spiritual Maturity.
There is nothing more profound than truly making every effort to LIVE what the Word says. Filling your head with Bible Studies and ‘deep’ teachings are great IF it changes you and makes you more like Christ. If not, it’s just a bunch of words. In addition, a mature Christian is able to spiritually feed themselves just as a mature adult is able to physically feed themselves. I came to realize that my attitude about needing something more profound was a sign of immaturity! We should never think we are too mature to hear the Word again. Yes, we need challenges so that we do not become stale but we are still responsible.
What Jesus Taught Was Profound in Its Application More Than its Substance
Think about what Jesus taught in His time here on earth. It was actually quite basic. He spoke about money, the Kingdom, Faith, personal relationships, love, end times, and being a servant among other things. Of course, He did it in a way that shed a completely new light on it but, regardless, this was still pretty basic stuff. Why did He teach it then? Because, although people knew it, they were not doing it. Jesus taught about doing the word. He didn’t just talk about love, He demonstrated it.
So, as we continually seek to be more like Jesus, we should have a corresponding uptick in living out the Word of God. Click To TweetAccording to Ephesians 4:11-13 NIV maturity means being filled up with Jesus!
“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”
We have leaders who help equip us – give us tools. Then it’s up to us to use them.
Take Personal Responsibility for Your Own Personal Growth
Above, there are 14 Scripture quotations. Here are the instructions showing your personal responsibility and the 10 signs of spiritual maturity:
- Be careful not to be deceived.
- Continue to grow and increase in God’s grace and intimacy with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
- Progress beyond the basic message of Christ – salvation.
- Move on to deeper truths. Move past the basics like faith, baptisms, laying on of hands, resurrection, and eternal judgment. Make them part of your life and then move on to the lifestyle which truly make you like Jesus.
- Intensely crave the pure spiritual milk of God’s Word which helps you to grow into maturity, fully nourished and strong for life.
- Reach a point where you can instruct others.
- Allow yourself to be trained by what you experience in order to emerge with understanding of the difference between what is truly excellent and what is evil and harmful.
- Add the traits of Jesus to your life.
- Grow in the knowledge of God, clothe yourself with Christ, and put on love.
- Train yourself to be Godly.
- Do your best.
The 10 Signs of Spiritual Maturity Are About Responsibility
This is all personal responsibility. It is not a responsibility to be profound or to be someone other than who God created you to be. It simply means that mature people not only accept responsibility for who and what they are, they also constantly move toward being better – more and more like Jesus. Being responsible is a sign of spiritual maturity.
Apply What You Learn
Everything Jesus taught was about application. The Pharisees knew the law backward and forward, condemned others for failing to measure up to it, yet, failed. Why? Because they were expecting others to do what they themselves were unwilling and unable to do. Why did the early church explode? It was not because of new and more profound teaching. It was the love of Christ being demonstrated by ordinary people. The Good News was profound yet so simple that it was dismissed by many.
Application is one of the biggest signs of maturity in the natural realm. You don’t just learn what to do – you actually do it and you get better and better at it. The refusal to apply learning, results in unemployment! In the spiritual realm, it results in being told that you are a baby still needing milk.
Do Not Allow Self-Pity to Become a Stronghold
We all have spells of feeling sorry for ourselves. The mark of maturity is that you get over it. You forgive, you put the past in the past, learn from it, and move forward in life. Immature Christians continually blame-shift and feel sorry for themselves. If you look at the lives of the disciples after Christ left the earth, it was hard. They were persecuted, killed, run out of cities, and lived with very little. What you will not see, is them feeling sorry for themselves. Instead, like Paul, they rejoiced in their suffering.
Taking up offenses is the surest way to remain immature as a Christian. Perhaps a Christian Leader hurt you and, maybe what they did was truly wrong. Unless you are perfect and have never hurt anyone else, you have no excuse to hang on to that and use it as a reason to feel sorry for yourself. Yes, you can be hurt and take the time you need to heal. However, if you stay there, it is a certain sign of immaturity. This life is full of pain and we must learn how to handle it in Christ and then move forward.
No one had a better excuse to give up than Jesus! Can you imagine accepting a job where you knew you would be rejected for thousands of years, painfully murdered, and even God would turn away from you? I can’t. But Jesus did. I get the fact that He was God and He also knew the outcome. However, He still had really good reasons to feel sorry for Himself and He never did. He chose to follow the Father’s will.
There is simply no excuse for hanging on to offenses. Even if you are right, there is no excuse. We are clearly instructed to forgive as we were forgiven. If not, what goes around comes around in regard to our judgments on others. Stop judging, allow God to heal you, forgive, and move forward. It’s what we teach our children and it’s what our Father is teaching us.
Jesus came to serve, not to be served. Over and over, He talked about serving. Leaders should be the greatest servants. The early church thrived because they served each other. Serving can be done in a thousand ways. It doesn’t really matter how you serve as long as you do it with right motives.
Serving is also about our hearts. We are not serving to be seen, to receive a reward, or to add points to our invisible, spiritual scorecard. Instead, we serve in order to help others. We take ourselves down in order to lift others up. Serving from a pure heart, thinking of receiving nothing in return is maturity.
Learn to Be Spiritually and Emotionally Stable
You aren’t turning into a robot. Jesus, the One we are trying to be like, had lots of emotions. He got really mad at the money-changers in the temple, overturned tables, yelled at them and drove all of them out! He cried. I think He also laughed. In Gethsemane, He asked repeatedly not to have do go forward with the horrid ordeal. He had all the same emotions we do.
We should feel, cry, laugh, be afraid, get mad, and all the rest. The key is that we control those emotions rather than allowing them control us. Our emotions are good unless they are allowed to be overwhelming. We are not to be tossed around by every little wind of doctrine (teaching) that blows by. We are to be spiritually and emotionally stable and steady. Not constantly tossed from one extreme to another succumbing to every opportunity for drama that comes our way.
Have Good, Solid, Long-lasting Relationships with Those Who Are Also Growing and Maturing
We can have many types of friends in our lives. I have a group of friends I ride motorcycles with. They are not who I turn to for spiritual matters. This is not a condemnation of them. They are some of the kindest, giving, and serving people I have ever met. It’s just that I have other friends I have known for many years, they stable in their faith and lives, and they who know me well. They are the ones I go to when I need spiritual help.
I have friends from work, friends at church, friends all over the place. Some I have known for a very long time. Others I have just met. We need a variety of friends. The ones we allow to speak into our lives should be more limited. Jesus had 12. Out of that, there were 3 He asked to go to Gethsemane with Him. Make sure you always have some of that kind of friends – even if they fall asleep in your time of need! Still, they are with you now and will be in the future.
Learn Not to Be Offended, Defensive or Threatened by Those With a Different Point of View
Christians, like the world, seem to find reasons to get mad at each other for having differing views about life and their Christian walk. Anger flares when someone speaks out against Christianity. We get defensive when someone disagrees with us. That is not maturity. We may not like it. It may hurt or it may stir up strong emotions. However, it is not a reason to part ways unless sin is involved.
What I’m talking about is differences in things like drinking wine, what movies to watch, which version of the Bible to read. There are Christians who get angry with and part company with those who read any Bible translation other than the King James version. Jesus didn’t read it either so I don’t see the point in the division!
Wade In With the Sinners
Mature Christians, just like mature humans, should be able to handle someone who has a different point of view without becoming offended, defensive or feeling threatened. If our faith is securely anchored in Christ, we should never feel threatened by anyone else’s beliefs. We are not responsible to change or convince everyone. We are responsible to love and to live out what we say we believe. Jesus was not the least bit threatened by the Pharisees, the Sadducees or the sinners.
I have never understood why some Christians seem to think that another person’s sin will somehow rub off or be contagious and so they stay away from so-called sinners. Jesus waded into them, ate with them, healed them, and loved them. Their sins never once affected Him in any way other than for Him to have great sorrow and sympathy for them as He offered them eternal life. If they rejected it, He moved on.
Encourage, Teach and Build Up Yourself and Others
We should constantly be encouraging and building ourselves up in our faith and doing the same for other believers. As we encourage, exhort and teach one another, we can use psalms, hymns and spiritual songs along with the Word.
“But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.” Jude 1:20 NIV
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25 NIV
When You Love Someone, You Serve
There are more Scriptures, but I think that gives you the idea. When you love someone, this is what you do. You want to see them succeed. You build yourself up, do the same for others, and they do it for you. This is part of serving one another and a definite sign of maturity because it’s what Jesus does.
Be Part of a Strong Fellowship That Challenges You Toward Ever-Greater Maturity
If you don’t have a church, find some fellowship with those who will do this for you. Usually, within that fellowship, there will be some who challenge you and they may not even know it. Sometimes, you just see their demeanor and faith in various situations and you want to be better. You are stirred to action but not always by words.
Pastors and Teachers in churches cannot preach to every need and level every Sunday. Instead, they take subjects and exhort. If there are 200 people in the congregation, there are a minimum of 400 different needs! No one can speak to all of those in one message. Don’t expect the impossible. Realize that the Pastors are doing the best they can on Sunday morning. And, remember that the deepest truths are the ones you actually live out.
None of us have attained. If Paul didn’t think he had, then I’m sure I haven’t. He said so:
“I admit that I haven’t yet acquired the absolute fullness that I’m pursuing, but I run with passion into his abundance so that I may reach the purpose that Jesus Christ has called me to fulfill and wants me to discover. I don’t depend on my own strength to accomplish this; however I do have one compelling focus: I forget all of the past as I fasten my heart to the future instead. I run straight for the divine invitation of reaching the heavenly goal and gaining the victory-prize through the anointing of Jesus. So let all who are fully mature have this same passion, and if anyone is not yet gripped by these desires, God will reveal it to them. And let us all advance together to reach this victory-prize, following one path with one passion.” Philippians 3:12-16 TPT
This is maturity – a passion to reach the purpose Christ has called us to fulfill. Don’t let anything stand in the way of your maturity. It takes a lifetime. Don’t lose a moment in unnecessary immaturity.
Let this be your passion:
“My passion is to be consumed with him and not clinging to my own “righteousness” based in keeping the written Law. My “righteousness” will be his, based on the faithfulness of Jesus Christ—the very righteousness that comes from God. And I continually long to know the wonders of Jesus more fully and to experience the overflowing power of his resurrection working in me. I will be one with him in his sufferings and I will be one with him in his death. Only then will I be able to experience complete oneness with him in his resurrection from the realm of death.” Philippians 3:9-11 TPT
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**We use verses from different Bible translations.
To see more information about the copyright for each one, please visit our Scripture Citations.
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