Growing into Spiritual Maturity

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Jesus replied: “Love the Lord our God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” – Matthew 22:37 (NIV)

When you love someone, it’s hard to hide that love. We see this when a bride and groom gaze into each other’s eyes as they say their vows; when a parent snuggles their newborn baby during those first, precious days; when an older couple sits wordlessly together, simply happy holding hands. Yes, when you love someone, it is evident to all around!

The same is true of our love for God. If we love Him, then our lives reflect that relationship. It is impossible for us to love Him and have a true relationship with Him without our entire worlds being changed. As we become spiritually mature and grow closer in our relationship with God, our lives continue to reflect that love more deeply.

Our last blog examined different factors that are part of spiritual maturity – specifically, ministering to others. However, the 2013 survey of church members – conducted under the direction of the General Conference Office of Archives, Statistics, and Research – also examined other elements and attitudes pertaining to spiritual maturity.

One indication of spiritual maturity involves continuous spiritual growth. When church members were asked if they seek out opportunities to help them grow spiritually (Q3.41), over one third (39%) of respondents indicated that they often do so. Additionally, approximately two out of every five respondents (40%) shared that the things they do reflect their commitment to Jesus (Q3.48).

Having a relationship with Jesus does not just influence one area of life, but encapsulates all aspects of it. When specifically asked how their relationship with God impacts them:

  • Nearly one out of every two respondents (49%) shared that they often feel that their life is filled with meaning and purpose (Q3.45).
  • Over half (55%) reported that they have a real sense that God is guiding them (Q3.50).
  • Almost three out of four (73%) indicated that the beauty of God’s creation spiritually moves them (Q3.51).

Another aspect of spiritual maturity—and thereby a manifestation of one’s relationship with God—is applying our faith to all aspects of life. While it might be easy to apply it to church life and family life, what of other areas? When asked if they apply their faith to political and social issues, less than one-fourth (23%) of respondents shared that they often do so (Q3.47). This is an area that – globally – appears to be weak in the arena of spiritual maturity.

 

One may think that a relationship with God is the main measure of spiritual maturity. However, it is impossible to grow in relationship with Jesus and not minister to others as Jesus did. Additionally, it is easy to see the data reported in this and the last blog and simply say, “That’s how the global church works, but not me...not my local church.” Yet, we are all one Body – when one part is weak, we all suffer. How can we strengthen our Church as a whole? And in what areas should we personally grow more “unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:13)?

To learn more about this study and its findings, click here.