Spiritual maturity vs. spiritual immaturityQUESTION: Spiritual maturity vs. spiritual immaturity - What are the differences?ANSWER:
Christine was church-hunting - again. It seemed as if every time she started to get comfortable at a church, the questions would start.
"Oh, Christine, wouldn't you like to join our Bible study?"
"Christine, you have such a good heart, I thought of you as soon as I heard they needed someone to help with Sunday school."
"Christine, we had the most awesome time at the orphanage this Christmas. I really wish you would get involved!"
Why was it so hard for people to understand she just wanted to be loved by Jesus, to feel that glow of being accepted for who she was? Why did they keep acting as if this was a test of spiritual maturity vs. spiritual immaturity?
But for Christine and many other followers of Christ, that's exactly what it is. The Bible laments the same thing in Hebrews 5:11-14:
"There is so much more we would like to say about this. But you don't seem to listen, so it's hard to make you understand. You have been Christians a long time now, and you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things a beginner must learn about the Scriptures. You are like babies who drink only milk and cannot eat solid food. And a person who is living on milk isn't very far along in the Christian life and doesn't know much about doing what is right. Solid food is for those who are mature, who have trained themselves to recognize the difference between right and wrong and then do what is right" (NLT).
The transition from milk to meat should be a natural one for most Christians. We should find ourselves wanting to read the Bible more often, to pray more frequently, to reach out in loving community as Christ teaches us. And, as the author of Hebrews intimates, we should naturally begin teaching others who are less spiritually mature rather than constantly needing to be fed ourselves.
Other signs of spiritual immaturity include a tendency to be easily misled and an inability to tell right from wrong.
2 Timothy 4:3-4 puts it this way: "For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to right teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever they want to hear. They will reject the truth and follow strange myths" (NLT).
The answer to advancing spiritually lies in God's Word, in prayer, and in action. They work together and compliment each other. For example, when we ask God to help us understand His Word, we may learn something that encourages us to reach out to a person in our community with love. We may find ourselves doing God's work and suddenly find new meaning in a Bible passage.
Ultimately, our need to be fed will be fulfilled when we reach out to others in obedience to the Lord's admonition to "Love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:39).