PHILIPPIANS 3:15 – Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.
THEME OF THE DAY. EVALUATING SPIRITUAL MATURITY. Christian maturity is measured in a lot of ways. Multiple Biblical tests help us to evaluate ourselves to determine if we are growing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus (2 Peter 3:18). And we should periodically take those tests to do spiritual wellness checks. A great place to do that is the Apostle John’s first letter (1 John). Within the letter, he identifies numerous ways for us to see if we are maturing as believers. He gives us the test of profession matched by practice in chapter one. There is the test of worldliness in chapter two. Moving into chapter three, we get the test of personal holiness and our love for Christians. There are more, and I would encourage you to spend time in his letter for some healthy spiritual self-examination.
Another test of spiritual maturity might not be one we think much of but should. It is the testimony of the Apostle Paul in the seventh chapter of his letter to the Romans. He writes of himself, “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin” (Romans 7:15-25).
The area of maturity the Apostle Paul is revealing is the keen awareness of his sinfulness. Mature Christians know their sin. Not just a passing, “Yeah, I sin.” No, mature Christians close to Christ know their depravity. They are ever conscious of their prone to wander bent of heart, never trusting themselves. And this deepens and deepens as they get close to the Lord. The results of this exposure of their true selves are the growth in humility, meekness, gratitude for God’s amazing grace, and a very slow trigger to “pull the gun” of critical judgment on other people’s sins. This awareness will not go away. The Apostle Paul’s testimony toward the end of his life affirms this truth – The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life (1 Timothy 1:15-16).
So, how mature are we in the Lord? Don’t measure it by how much Bible we know; how much Christian service we do; or our outward conduct of does and don’ts. Take the spiritual tests in 1 John, and then evaluate how well we really know ourselves in relationship to remaining sin in our lives.
PRAYER: “Father, help me to see myself as I really am and not as I may think I am, then rest in Your amazing grace.”
QUOTE: “Don’t be afraid to let the Lord show You your true self. It is exposing but liberating because He still loves you.”