| Christian Maturity|
I'm curious as to everybody's thoughts on exactly what it means to be a "mature" Christian. Please, be specific in your comments, and don't toss out Ravenhillisms :-)
| 2008/8/27 19:05||Profile|
| Re: Christian Maturity|
Separation, not only from the flesh, but also from the soul.
An intimate union with the Father, so much so, that one's encounter with suffering turns also the scoffers and mockers to Christ.
Forgive my vagueness brother, I am not sure I have much more to add though. Maybe because this is the spiritual life I strive towards, but have not yet matured in myself.
| 2008/8/27 22:58||Profile|
| Re: Christian Maturity|
Am I growing in grace and an understanding of
God's purpose and will for me?? Am I dying
daily to self and the world and living for the
cause of Christ and the kingdom of God??
Am I a testimony of the truth of His saving
grace and a witness of His love and His Spirit
Martin G. Smith
| 2008/8/29 17:11||Profile|
Hebrews 6:1-3 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do, if God permit.
This is the progression from child faith to father faith. The fathers know Jesus from the beginning.
1 John 2:12-14 I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake. I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father. I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.
Children know that God is the Father. Young men are strong and overcome the wicked one. Fathers' know Him who is from the beginning.
1 John 2:12-14 I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake. I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father. I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.1 John 2:12-14 I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake. I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father. I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.
The fathers', that know Him that is from the beginning:
Ephesians 1:3-12 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
In Christ: Phillip
| 2008/9/3 18:54||Profile|
Phoenix, Arizona USA
| Re: Christian Maturity|
Maybe it would be a good idea to address some of the misconceptions about growing spiritually before defining what it means to mature as a believer.
I have a few thoughts to this end...
1) Maturity is not a matter of your position in Christ. We don't grow into becoming a Christian. There may be a process of learning the gospel but the new birth is instantaneous.
2) Maturity is not a matter of God's love. I don't believe there are grades of love with God. You cannot gain more of God's love.
3) Maturity is not neccesarily a matter of time. There are people who have been saved a long time but are still babes spiritually and those who have only been saved a short time who have matured much. Certainly time is a factor in growth but we don't measure spirituality by the calendar.
4) Maturity is not a matter of accumulated knowledge. The issue is not knowledge alone, it's what you do with that knowledge.
5) Maturity is not a matter of activity. The person who is busy in church activities is not necessarily spiritual. Being busy doesn't even qualify a person for salvation let alone maturity.
6) Maturity is not a matter of prosperity. Some equate money with God's favor but material blessing is not a marker of maturity.
There are probably other misconceptions that could be added but those are probably the biggies.
| 2008/9/3 20:43||Profile|
1 Corinthians 4:14 I do not write these things to shame you, but to admonish you as my beloved children. 15 For if you were to have countless tutors in Christ, yet you would not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. 16 Therefore I exhort you, be imitators of me.
17 For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, who is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, and he will remind you of my ways which are in Christ, just as I teach everywhere in every church
The more and more I think about it, the more and more I am driven to the conclusion that this passage is perhaps the essence of what it means to be mature in the faith. To the degree we imitate that which is apostolic, as exemplified in the apostles Paul and Timothy, is the degree to which we are mature. Here, Paul sees himself as a paradigm for the Christian faith, whose way of life is to be imitated. Paul sees his life not only as a paradigm, but also recognizes that his life (which really is nothing short than the life of Christ) has been reduplicated in the life of his younger co-worker, Timothy, who was sent to Corinth to serve as a model of that life to a church who has to some degree departed from Paul's example... both in morality and polity.
What think ye?
| 2008/9/3 21:36||Profile|
Las Vegas, NV
| Re: Christian maturity|
To be ever ready to share with another the hope that is in you.
If the hope that is in me, in Christ, is not able to give Christ-saving hope to another then what is this hope to me; is it sincere, is it proven?
Am I living my life in such example that my neighbors can trust my prayers?
Am I thoughtful concerning eternity and the end of all men? Do I weep for those who do not know Christ and is it my first and last motive to know Christ in them? Do I rejoice with those who do know Christ?
Do I seek first His Kingdom and His Righteousness in every thing, in every way, at all times, in every place, with every one?
Do I love God for my sake or His sake? Is my concern for others poisoned with selfish-ambitions?
What is my heart towards the widow and the fatherless and the needy?
Have I kept myself unstained from sensual immorality?
Have I been faithful Lord? Have I proved what is pleasing and acceptable in Thy sight? Have I blasphemed your Holy Name among the heathens wheresoever I went? Have I considered your Name vainly, powerless, of no effect, or lightly?
Am I an Epistle of Christ Jesus testifying of the Gospel of Reconciliation, that there is peace with God in Christ?
Are my prayers heard by my Father in heaven? Have I lifted up my heart deceitfully before Him? Do I consider iniquity in my heart or is my heart pure towards Him? Have I lifted up my hands in wickedness? Or fasted for strife and contention rather than that my voice should be heard on high?
Do I sow unto myself much knowledge of righteousness and thereby compound my condemnation; seeing how much I know to do right and do it not?
Have I allowed myself to burn strange incense, use strange fire, a strange altar, or minister outside of the Presence of my God?
Have I loved the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength; and loved my neighbor as myself (even as Christ so loved me and gave His Life)?
Am I broken in spirit when I remember the Lord my Savior and Shepherd?
Do questions like these even cause my proud heart to tremble and break?
Do I live by the Love of God shed abroad in my heart? Or is my heart cold and my prayers ice? Have I grown weary in well-doing and shutup the compassion of Christ within me?
Do I find the law of Christ burdensome or abusive to my soul? Or is it liberty and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit?
The following is taken from John Bunyan's, "[url=http://www.mountzion.org/johnbunyan/text/bun-prayer.htm]A DISCOURSE TOUCHING PRAYER[/url]"
"Prayer is a sincere, sensible, affectionate pouring out of the heart or soul to God, through Christ, in the strength and assistance of the Holy Spirit, for such things as God hath promised, or according to the Word, for the good of the church [and the world], with submission, in faith, to the will of God."
And this same description well defines a mature Christian.
| 2008/9/3 22:23||Profile|
| Re: Christian Maturity|
Christian maturity rests a great deal in obedience, I think. One may has vast head knowledge in doctrine, produces a great deal of religious works, but perhaps it's the obedience in loving God and loving one another in accordance to Scripture,that indicates one's maturity.
Maturity level can be highly volatile. One may be mature today, while sin can reduce all that "maturity" to nil tomorrow.
Philip cited from Scriptures in his post regarding the children, the young man and the father. There, indicative of strength and faith of a Christian, rather than maturity. Though one might say that one can mature in strength, but even so, I'd argue strength is given via obedience and abiding in Christ. A mature Christian can at times be disobedient and nonabiding as well.
I agree with Ron as to what maturity is not. Being a KJV student, the word maturity is not found in that version. The apostle Paul refers us as soldiers.., if I have to gauge maturity in this light, I'd still say, it has to be the "measurement" of strength in endurance, suffering, and faith and obedience to Christ especially in times of trials and temptations.
It's far better not to measure ourselves or compare ourselves at all, but live moment by moment in obedience by faith in Christ. Lest this measurement of maturity become some sort of stumblingblock or discouragement to ourselves and to others.
I have noticed that this notion of maturity is popular amongst churchians. Instead of exalting Christ always, one carries on about this maturity to self boasting or flattering others.
Just a few thoughts.
| 2008/9/4 21:09||Profile|
I am convinced the more we identify with the death of Christ and lose ourselves the more Christ will have His way in us and then be a vessel of honor unto Him.
The wrestling Paul does in Romans 7 seems to personify the life of a Christian. I say, "it seems" to me, others may think this is the life of an unbeliever, but I am not convinced yet 100% either way. (Maybe someone can help me) But if we are dead with Christ why do we still do those things that displease Him and if the Holy Ghost is us, displease us as well. We know what is right to do, but do the wrong thing. So, the more we cling to the conlusion of this chapter, "Thanks be to God through Christ Jesus our Lord," maturity will come. That is obedience. Yielding to Him so that He may do His work in us. O praise God that He is able to accomplish that with which He has started. Let's continue to yield so that we may grow up to the full stature that is in Christ (Ephesians).
King jimmy hit it on the head with bringing 1Corinthians 4 up. On the flipside of maturity we have many immature because of their constant running to this teacher and that teacher, never coming to the full knowledge of truth, never willing to wrestling with things before God in the closets of their own homes and hearts. O, that we might approach Him with whom we have to do...and learn obedience through the things we suffer. Light afflictions...merely flesh wounds. O that our flesh might die the whole way...
| 2008/9/5 11:15||Profile|