I have two boys (Noah and Micah) 15 months apart. Yes, the days are non-stop and action-packed, but that’s not the point. Here is the point: My boys are at different stages in the maturation process. My oldest son (Noah) can process thoughts and handle tasks that my younger son (Micah) can’t. And most of you would label me an unfit dad if I disciplined Micah because he didn’t understand something he wasn’t capable of processing.
At the same time, I hold Noah to a higher standard than Micah because Noah is older. He is more mature. I don’t expect Micah to be on Noah’s maturity level, but I also don’t expect Noah to be on Micah’s maturity level.
There is a maturation journey we embark on from our first breath on this earth until our last. And there are markers along the way to help us determine if we are ahead of the curve or behind it. For instance, if a 10-year-old is drinking from a bottle, we know something is wrong. If a 5-year-old is still crawling we know something is wrong. You get the idea.
Just like we develop as humans, we also develop as Christians. And just like there are markers for physical and mental maturation, there are also markers for spiritual maturation. But what are they? Well, let’s start by eliminating some things.
Spiritual maturity is not:
Spiritual maturity is not about age.
Similar to the bumper sticker that says, “I might be getting older, but I will never grow up.” Spiritual maturity takes time, energy and effort, but it is possible to be a 50- or 60-year-old spiritual baby.
Spiritual maturity is not about achievements.
“Dude, you read through the Bible 25 times? Oh, you memorized the entire book of James? Wow, you can say the books of the Bible in 12 languages … backwards? Are you serious? … You have a Ph.D. in Religion from Harvard?”
Those accomplishments are impressive, but they aren’t necessarily marks of a spiritually mature person. Remember, the Pharisees knew a lot of Scripture and had a trophy room full of achievements.
Spiritual maturity is not about appearance.
There are people who “look the part.” In football, this is called “passing the eye test.” Tall. Big hands. Rocket arm. But many guys who pass the eye test aren’t good football players. Similarly, there are many Christians who “pass the eye test.” But this isn’t an indication of spiritual maturity.
So, what is spiritual maturity? There are potentially hundreds of markers. So, understand the following markers aren’t a checklist. They aren’t exhaustive. They provide a framework for spiritual maturity.
No one ever fully matures spiritually. But we must journey on the road to maturity, and while we journey, there are marks that help us determine where we are. Here are 10 marks of a mature Christian.
10 Marks of a Mature Christian
1) The highs and lows of life don’t impact your relationship with God.
I love roller coasters. My favorite part is ascending to the apex, stalling for a moment or two, then taking a free fall only to begin the next ascension. What makes roller coasters awesome is the constant rise and fall. But this is not what makes Christianity awesome. I have seen too many people live for the mountaintop experience. They are up, then down. They are all in, then all out. They have an emotional high (conversion experience, weekend retreat, etc.), but when the high wears off, so does their relationship with God.