1 John 2:12-14
If you’re not growing, you’re backsliding. A growing Christian is a mature Christian, so let’s consider what maturity means.
What Spiritual Maturity Looks Like
“I write to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake. I write to you, fathers, because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the wicked one” (1 John 2:12-13a).
Christians, what is our goal? We are to be progressing to Christ-likeness. (See Colossians 1:28.) Spiritual maturity is a Christian in full bloom.
The Three Stages of Spiritual Growth
Which stage are you in?
“I write to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake” (1 John 2:12). Baby Christians live in the realm of feelings. To them, everything is new and glorious. And that is legitimate! You have to start as a child.
Little children are selfish and inconsiderate. If you take those characteristics and say, “That’s what a Christian is like,” people would say, “Then I don’t want to be one!” Do not judge Jesus by baby Christians. They are saved, but they have to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18a).
The Church ought to be full of newborn Christians—but newborns should grow up.
“I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the wicked one…. because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you” (1 John 2:13b,14b). You cannot be a worker or a warrior without the Word abiding in you. (See 1 Peter 2:2.) Not just “you read it”—it abides in you. You are transformed by it.
Satan wants to stunt the growth of spiritual children. That is why he keeps them from the Word of God.
“I write to you, fathers, because you have known Him who is from the beginning” (1 John 2:13a). Spiritual fatherhood is intimacy with Christ. A spiritual father has spiritual children. A father can provide wisdom, because he has known God the Father.
Keep the wonder of childhood. Keep the strength, warfare and service of young manhood. But add to that fatherhood, and go on progressing.
How We Become Mature
In order for you to grow into spiritual maturity, there must be:
It is impossible for you to grow without a spiritual birth. Come to Jesus as you are—as a sinner—and be born. That is when you will begin growing spiritually in the knowledge of Christ.
- Spiritual Nourishment
John said to young men that they are strong because “the word of God abides in you.” (See 1 John 2:14.) Feast on the Word of God—and put it into practice.
If you want to be physically strong, you have to exercise. If you want to be spiritually strong…exercise. (See Hebrews 5:14.) Find a job and get to it. Stop worrying about what you can’t do, or about what others do. Get your heart right, get your beliefs right, and let your church train you for service.
You can be instantly spiritual—receive Christ, repent of your sins, and God will fill you with the Holy Spirit. But you will not be instantly mature.
Day by day, year by year, you will find yourself progressing to maturity. You will feel childlike thrill at the wonder of it all. You will have the victories of young manhood. Then you will have the wisdom of a spiritual father, able to provide wisdom for your spiritual children.