Polls conducted in the USA by George Barna and others show little differences in the practices and theology of those outside the church and those that would be considered occasional attenders or born again believers. But there are significant differences between non-Christians and evangelicals. Evangelicals as defined by George Barna equate to mature Christians. Those who understand the importance of regular church attendance, studying the Holy Bible, serving the church and others, and sharing the good news (Gospel) of Jesus Christ. God calls all who follow Jesus to seek to become mature in their faith.
Paul the Apostle wrote: Ephesians 4:1-16
Unity and Maturity in the Body of Christ
“4 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
7 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. 8 This is why it[a] says:
“When he ascended on high,
he took many captives
and gave gifts to his people.”[b]
9 (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions[c]? 10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) 11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”
In the century after the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, it was common for new believers to spend three years in community studying the Holy Scriptures before they were considered mature in their faith. Today most Americans spend more time each week watching TV or videos than they they spend studying the Holy Scriptures alone or in community. I pray this encourages you to spend more time on that which is eternal and less time on entertainment that will pass away.
How can you encourage maturing in faith?
- Start with an attitude of humility – recognize you have room to grow
- Treat those in need of maturity with patience and love
- Make use of the gifts of the church
- Earnestly seek wisdom to mature instead of drifting in life and just getting older
How is God calling you to increase spiritual maturity in you and others?
- How do you need to change your attitude towards spiritual maturity?
- What can you do to work with your church’s discipleship process?
- How can you be more intentional in seeking maturity?
Resources on maturing faith and reflections
You can better understand your God-given gifts for service by taking a Gift Test.
I found some good stuff on Huckabee this weekend on TBN. I pray these bless you.
Justin Flom – A Veterans tribute with just a pack of cards and a beautiful ending.