I don’t know about you, but I like “measurables”. In other words, I like indicators that tell me how I am doing in a certain areas of my life. I am not talking about legalism that’s based on a performance base acceptance model. I am referring to matters of the heart. Indicators that your heart is maturing and conforming to a Christ likeness.
Spiritual maturity is not about “what you do for God”, but it’s about how much your heart (your mind, will and emotions) is conforming to the character of Christ. When we are allowing Christ to be our life then we will automatically move toward spiritual maturity.
However, maturity is not just a subjective thing, there are some measurables that serve as our spiritual barometer. Listed below are a few signs or indicators that we are moving toward maturity.
1. You are maturing when you acknowledge that your life is not your own. The Scripture tells us that “…and you are not your own, for you have been bought with a price.” ( 1 Corinthians 6:19-20). This requires an intentional act of the will where you put your life in God’s hands and desire to be fully obedient to God’s plan, wherever that may lead. It is taking your dreams, plans and goals and present circumstances and placing them in God’s hand. It’s admitting that you can’t do life successfully unless God leads and directs your life.
2. You are maturing when you realize you don’t have to respond when challenged. This is a major indicator of maturity and it’s probably one of the most difficult things to grasp. It was difficult for me for several reasons. First, I had the need to be right, especially if someone challenged me. I just couldn’t let it go. I guess it was tied to my need to be validated. However, when I understood that abandonment to the supremacy of Christ involved surrendering rights and expectations then my need to “be right” diminished.
Secondly, being right gave me a sense of worth. When I discovered that my security is in “who I am in Christ” and not in “proving that I was “right”, then I was able to let those challenges go. It didn’t matter anymore, because I no longer had to validate my worth by proving I was right. My worth and acceptance was based solely on “who I am in Christ”, His life is enough.
3. You are maturing when you realize that every difficulty is God’s way of breaking us. Every mature believer will point to difficult times and/or encounters with difficult people as a time of spiritual growth. In God’s economy of things, brokenness moments and events are God’s method of maturing us. Maturity is seldom a result of mountain top experiences, but rather a compilation of valley experiences.
“Every person who crosses us, every person who discourages us is God’s way of breaking us. It creates a deeper channel in us for the life of Christ. The only life that pleases God is His life, never our life. Our self-centered life is the exact opposite of His. We can never be filled with His life unless we are prepared to bring our life constantly to death.” ( Quote from Roy Hession)
Spiritual maturity is not about performance, but about the level of our submission and obedience to the Lord. God never intended for our relationship with Him to be based on our self-effort. That’s the reason that the Scripture tells us “that we are made complete in Him.” (Colossians 2).