June 22, 2020
By Julianne Hudson
“The knowledge of Christ’s love for us should cause us to love Him in such a way that it is demonstrated in our attitude, conduct, and commitment to serve God. Spiritual maturity is marked by spiritual knowledge being put into action.” (Edward Bedore)
What do you think of when you hear the word mature? Do you think of a person dressed in a suit and tie, ready to speak to an anxious room? Do you think of your parent’s advice shared over casual conversation? Do you think of someone who knows how to deal with pain, or your college professor speaking to your classroom? How can we reach a point where others see us as mature? Are we striving for maturity to please others or is it for the sake of growing? And when we look deeper, are we ever fully mature in our relationship with Jesus?
Spiritual Maturity is achieved through becoming more like Jesus.
Okay, so that’s easy, right?
In reality, I think it might be one of the hardest things to achieve. Every day we battle with deciding whether we should trust the ways of this world or follow God’s prompting. For me there are times when it would be so much easier to just give in to temptation, take the easy way out, and settle for mediocrity and laziness.
You walk in maturity when you live it.
You will begin to see maturity in your life when you walk in obedience rather than just speaking it. Too often we care more about portraying ourselves to be these picture-perfect followers of Christ, rather than being honest. We would rather post about Jesus than love our neighbor who irritates us. Why? Because there is no true sacrifice in a social media post. Why aren’t we living what we are preaching? Why are we one way on social media and someone completely different in person? Why are we so fearful that God will not use us as we are?
We think if we love our enemy and extend grace to them, we are justifying bad behavior. But we serve a God who responds in ways that can shock the world. What if forgiving someone is God’s way of showing His unconditional love, and doing so allows you to walk in maturity?
We may never fully understand why God calls us to turn the other cheek, or go the extra mile, but that’s okay. Maturity flows out of you when you trust the one who understands. It’s so not about you.
A real sign of spiritual maturity is looking to God for purpose and perspective, instead of comfort and convenience.
Ah, how we love comfort and convenience.
“Oh, I’ll serve! But only if it’s not too early.”
“Of course, I’ll donate, but not too much I have bills to pay.”
“Yes! I will make dinner for the homeless. But what’s in it for me?”
Jesus is not this way. His love is radical, and it stretches beyond comfort. It is inconvenient to Him, not always returned, and at times mocked and rejected. His love is relentless, it’s unconditional, it’s real.
We will begin to walk in maturity when you we love this way. When it no longer becomes about performing for others, but rather a genuine, Jesus kind of love. I don’t think any of us will ever fully mature in Christ here on earth, but one day in heaven, I trust we will. Until then, I believe we have a choice. We can choose to love just like Jesus: actively, selflessly, wholly, unconditionally, not expecting anything in return. From my experience, when you love this way, you won’t be sorry. It is one of the greatest gifts we can give, and even in your brokenness, personal weaknesses and doubts, God can use you.
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NIV)
Growth can be scary because it means we no longer are who we were. I want to live continually growing, constantly seeking Jesus, and allowing Him to mature me in my every move.
Until next time, J