Saturday, September 30, 2017

Spiritual Maturity - It Takes a Lifetime

A weed,
in my backyard.
The pears on our neighbor's pear tree have been falling onto the ground. It has taken a whole season of connectedness for the pear to mature from what began as a flower. The pear-as-flower-bud is immature. It is far from fully formed.

In the spiritual life things are the same. The new Jesus-follower is young and, ipso facto, immature. This is not a criticism, it is just a reality. Just as Mc-Pears don't exist, neither does Mc-Spirituality. Yes, they can know Christ and be known by Christ. No, they are not and cannot be, e.g., a "mature worshiper." 

As a pear-flower matures into an edible pear, so can a baby Christian mature into Christlikeness. This is a process, and it takes time. Praise God for Jesus-followers who are young adults. If they live lives that abide in Christ, like branches attached to Jesus the Vine, they will grow towards maturity. But they cannot, at their age, be "mature," because this takes time.

"Maturing" is not some "quality time" thing, as if a pear would decide to spend a few quality hours attached to the tree. One sign of spiritual maturity is that a person has been broken and re-broken by God, over time, so as to be more greatly formed in Christ. This is how spiritual oak trees are made.

The flower-blossom-pear is in it for the long haul. To mature spiritually requires a lifetime. 

Stay attached. Continue dwelling in Christ.

Be patient.

Slow-cook in the furnace of spiritual formation.