Spiritual Formation

5 Attributes of a Spiritually-Mature Person

February 4, 2014

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Spiritual maturity seems to be a fleeting goal among modern Christianity.  In the pursuit of being relevant, we have left behind the virtuous attributes of spiritual formation.  Perhaps we shun such lofty aspirations because we fear what others will think.  We may believe that maturity is an objective too difficult to obtain.  Or possibly, and perhaps most dangerously, we are afraid of change.  Steve Farrar said, “Perpetual adolescence is the curse of modern culture.  Everyone wants to be young instead of mature.”

The apostle Paul told the juvenile church at Corinth, “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things” (I Corinthians 13:11).  The prevailing problem in this post-modern world is that we have pushed back the timeline of adulthood.  When are men and women to become men and women?   Maturity seems to be an antiquated quality only to be pursued by our grandparents and serious clergymen.  Therefore we diminish its value and aim for less.  We play with our toys, mark on our walls, and expect someone else to feed us when we are hungry.

Because of its rarity, we have few barometers that measure spiritual growth.  What does a mature Christian look like?  What are the qualities of someone who has become a spiritual adult?  This list is certainly not exhaustive but it does provide some general traits of a person growing in his or her relationship with Christ.

 

1. A Life of Devotion. 

Spiritually mature people embrace daily moments with Christ.  They have learned the secret to an ongoing relationship: doing it daily.  Their bond with Christ is not reduced to weekend visits.  They have given Christ full custody of their lives.  They pray, worship, read, and engage in spiritual pursuits on a daily basis.

 

2. A Disdain Toward Sin. 

Sin will only be gone from our lives when we are finally and ultimately glorified in the likeness of Christ.  It will always be a struggle.  However, as we grow in grace, we become more sensitive to sin’s effect.  Repentance becomes a continual and frequent part of our life.  We understand what sin does to our relationship with God and look for ways to avoid it at all costs.

 

3. A Passion for Christ and the Gospel. 

Ironically, the more mature we become in Christ, the less we see the Gospel as elementary and basic.  In our spiritual development we are made aware of the magnitude and depth of the cross and its daily consequence in our life.  Holiness and maturity has its start and ending in the gospel of grace, therefore, we learn to appreciate and accentuate Christ more and more the closer we get to Him.

 

4. A Heart for Souls. 

Contrary to popular belief, maturity doesn’t have to breed snobbery.  Spiritual development means bringing others along for the ride.  Those who are genuinely growing in grace learn to reach out to others who are not as far along.  Grace becomes the basis of relationships.  Of course we hold high the standards of biblical truth as we teach others the full counsel of God, but we equally love and admonish others to know Christ in the forgiveness of sins.  We not only see people in their spiritual destitution, we see them as souls bound for a Christless eternity.

 

5. A Willingness to Serve. 

In the book, True Community, Jerry Bridges contends, ““No one ever gets to a place within society as a whole, or within the body of Christ in particular, where he or she is too important to serve others in the ordinary tasks of life.” The fully developed and mature heart has service and humility pumping through its veins.  Those who are last become first, those who are weak become strong, those who are servant become great, and in the process you cross over the threshold from adolescence to adulthood.

 

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