All attentive parents remember occasions in the lives of their children when they saw signs which were evidence of their “growing up.” It may have been the day that they did one of their chores without being asked, or bathed without being told, or more carefully dressed or groomed themselves with no prompting whatsoever. It was clear to them, as well as a feeling of joy, that their kids were slowly but surely becoming responsible adults. It is no different in the spiritual realm and I’m pretty sure that God is pleased when He sees signs of spiritual maturity in His children. Do you ever wonder how you measure up in that regard or which signs demonstrate that you are slowly heading toward spiritual maturity? I’m sure I may miss more than a few, but please permit me to share some signs which I believe indicate spiritual maturity.
The one sign I want to highlight today is “accountability.” The dictionary defines it as “an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one's actions.” Parents, as well as pastors, are familiar with the childish reactions of many who are called to give an account of a particular matter. Often, they will deny any wrongdoing, blame something or someone else for it, or else bring up the faults of the one who has called them into question. None of us are exempt from being corrected or called to task from time to time and it is never an easy pill to swallow. Nevertheless, Christ gives us the grace, patience and strength to “take it.” I shared this verse in this past Sunday’s church bulletin: "Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath." (James 1:19 KJV) For the bulletin, I was focusing on being better listeners. For today’s topic, I want to stress the importance of patiently hearing out the person who has brought a complaint or a certain situation to our attention and not angrily lashing out in our defense. To patiently accept it without retaliation or self-justification is a sign of spiritual maturity.
The space I have allotted myself for these blogs, does not allow me to go into more detail regarding other indicators of spiritual maturity but here are a few more: (1) consistency in prayer, bible reading, church attendance, and good habits, (2) being better listeners than talkers, (3) humility, (4) being meek and submissive, (5) being patient, not quarrelsome or aggressive, (6) being responsible in our financial obligations, and (7) punctuality. Having these qualities doesn’t make one perfect, but they definitely are signs of maturity.
Memory verse for the week: “So then, neither is he that planteth anything, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.” (1 Cor. 3:7 KJV)