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For the last few months, in the Sunday morning service, we have been studying the principles of spiritual growth that are outlined in II Peter chapter 1. Peter, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, lists them this way:
"And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge, and to knowledge temperance, and to temperance patience, and to patience godliness, and to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love." These then become the character traits by which our spiritual maturity can be measured.
Having studied these principles, I must ask each of us this question: How spiritually mature are we really? Please understand that maturity does not come with age; we all know of people who we would classify either physically or emotionally as "immature." The same is true in the spiritual realm. Unfortunately, there are many believers who were born again a number of years ago, but never bothered to mature. This is a terrible tragedy, for not only is that person not functioning for Christ at the level at which they could, but this condition of spiritual immaturity is completely self-inflicted. When a sinner comes to Jesus Christ in repentance for sin and accepts the shed blood of Christ as the sacrifice for his sins, the Bible says that he becomes a "new creature." He is a child of God, and able to begin to "grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." To fail to do so is not only a violation of God's command, but also a sad waste of a Christian life.
So then, how are we coming in our maturity? Ask yourself these questions: Since I've been saved, have I been, developing moral excellence? Is my activity an example of what God would have a Christian to be? Do I know God, and am I continuing to learn more about Him through careful study and meditation upon His word? Am I allowing the Holy Spirit to control me, or does my flesh dictate my actions. Am I patient and constant in my trials because I can see the hand of God working in me? Do my actions reflect a Biblical attitude of worship and reverence to God? Is my relationship to my brothers and sisters in Christ correct? Do I really show Biblical love to Christians and non-Christians alike?
How were our answers? Perhaps these few moments of reflection show us that we are not progressing as God would have us to. Let's determine together as a church that we will work together not just to evangelize our community, but to achieve the level of discipleship and maturity that our Lord desires of us. Let's begin today.