Are you wearing your big boy/girl pants? Part 2
It is interesting in our spiritual lives, growth is somewhat the opposite of our natural growth.
Paul wrote this to the church at Ephesus
“…we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. 16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.”
BTW Ephesians 4:11-16 is part of our Vision statement as a church.
The writer of Hebrews challenges us with this
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.
So what does it look like to be spiritually mature? What does it mean to be a healthy growing Christian?
We are called to grow up together to look more and more like Christ what does that look like?
6) You Find Yourself Wanting to Obey God
In John 14:15, Jesus says, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”
One of the natural expectations of a growing Christian is faithfulness and obedience to the commands of God. Not out of duty, but out of love for Him.
Our obedience results from what Jesus has done for us and of our love for Him.
7) You’re Growing as a Person
The apostle Paul, in Colossians 1:10, talks about bearing fruit.
Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.
In Galatians 5:22-23, he lays out the fruit of the Spirit:
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self- control. There is no law against these things
One of the best ways to measure growth is by looking at this fruit in our lives. Jesus put it this way in Matthew 7:16-20
You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. 18 A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. 19 So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. 20 Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions
All of this fruit should be visible not just in our own self-assessment. Impartial outsiders should be able to observe this fruit growing in our lives. If other people don’t see evidence of this fruit in our lives, then perhaps our fruit is not growing as much as we think it is.
8) You’re Less Worried About Personal Preferences and More Concerned about Unity
Paul, in Ephesians 4:11-15, notes that unity of the faith and knowledge of Jesus are measures of fullness in Christ.
Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. 13 This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. 15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church
The war of personal preferences…. We have to learn to define the difference between personal preference and/or style and what God is doing.
9) You’re Willing to Speak the Truth in Love
Paul teaches us, in Ephesians 4:15-16, to speak the truth in love and to grow in Christ—which makes the whole body grow in love.
“Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. 16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.”
As you grow spiritually, you’ll learn not to avoid hard topics, but to speak into the lives of other believers—always with loving humility and grace.
10) You’re Engaged in Community
The writer of Hebrews encourages us to continue meeting together. In a culture moving further and further from regular church involvement, the Bible teaches that growing, mature Christians will continually and consistently meet together. We are created for community.
In review today’s ten signs of our maturing faith are
- Always learning more about the Father, Son and Holy Spirit
- Going in deeper with the Word
- Not waiting for others to feed you
- Learning and teaching others
- Grow in grace
- You find yourself wanting to obey God
- You are growing as a person
- You are less worried about personal preference and more worried about unity
- You’re willing to speak the truth in love
- You’re engaged in community
Where are you today? If you are doing this, rejoice, you are growing! If not take it as a challenge to see these signs of growth in your life.