Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Sign of Spiritual Maturity


Do you read the Bible regularly? Do you have a devotional life? Do you worship with the Jesus community? Do you practice the spiritual disciplines? If the answer is "yes," that's good. But these are not the signs of spiritual maturity. If they indicated maturity, then the Pharisees would be the most mature.

John Ortberg writes:

"We have to measure spiritual maturity in such a way that the Pharisees don’t win. Otherwise, we’ll just produce Pharisees. But in churches, that’s what we do a lot, because we try to mass produce it and put everybody through a program. We measure devotional practices instead of what kind of persons we are actually producing." (In Dallas Willard,  Living in Christ's Presence: Final Words on Heaven and the Kingdom of God, p. 67)

The spirit of the disciplines is not for the sake of the disciplines, but for the purpose of becoming a certain kind of person. The disciplines escort us into the presence of God, which is the arena of our spiritual transformation.

The Bible is not for the purpose of having Bible studies and quoting Scripture, but for pointing us into relationship with God. Via the Spirit-empowered disciplines, God gets his hands on us, and we are transformed into greater and greater Christlikeness.

A person could legalistically follow the commands of God (like the Pharisees) and remain unchanged. Just as fruit matures because it has remained attached to the tree, our maturity comes, not by our efforts, but as a consequence of our attachment to God.