This past weekend we concluded our series, That’s a Great Question, where we’ve been studying some of the questions Jesus asked. I wanted to take one more week to address a question which was submitted during the series. While in weeks past I’ve attempted to address questions which I believe many of us may be asking, I chose the one for this week because I wonder if many of us ask this one at all.
Question: What does spiritual maturity in Christ look like?
This question is wholly centered on worship and the person of Jesus. It causes a deep look into our own hearts attempting to measure a growing love for and dedication to Christ. It’s a great question. One that we should be asking all the time.
We see God’s people in Scripture longing to mature in their experience of God…
David puts it like this in Psalm 63: You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched landwhere there is no water.
In Exodus 33, Moses simply asks God this: Now, show me your glory.
Paul says it plainly in Philippians 3: I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead
Knowing God more intimately and growing in your knowledge and love for him is a deeply spiritual longing. We were created to long for and pursue God. Adam and Eve were created with that longing (they, like us, stumbled and took the longing and pursued something other). Israel longed for God, for purpose, for identity, for freedom. God is the missing piece from all our hearts. He is the one who completes us.
Unfortunately for the modern Church, we tend to view our faith journey as one spent in the attendance of programs and in study and reading to affirm what we already think we believe. We’ve boiled following Jesus down to a list of rules and beliefs; we adhere to practices which, if we’re honest, we hope will keep God’s attention just enough so that he doesn’t forget about us.
Sure, God gives us spiritual practices to sharpen and hone our hearts to be more like his. Yes, God gives us beliefs and programs to ungird those beliefs and to put them into action. Maturity in Christ isn’t the absence of those things, but it is so much more.
Spiritual maturity in Christ is, first and foremost, a posture. God pursues us constantly. This is the story the Bible tells. We would not find full life in God if he did not initiate this pursuit. At the same time, we, too, must pursue a relationship with him. A.W. Tozer says it like this:
“God is a person, and in the deep of his mighty nature He thinks, wills, enjoys, feel, loves, desires, and suffers as any other person may. In making Himself known to us He stays by the familiar pattern of personality. He communicates with us through the avenues of our minds, our will and our emotions. The continuous and unembarrassed interchange of love and thought between God and the soul of the redeemed man is the throbbing heart of New Testament religion.”
Spiritual maturity is our pursuit of God. God is not someone or something to be read, practiced, or adhered to. God is to be known, chased, discovered, rediscovered, and cherished. As we seek and find more of God through prayer, His Word, through steps of trust and obedience and love… we will find we are maturing to look more like Christ.
White Oak has a tagline that goes like this: Together we move. We are not on this journey alone. Please don’t stop asking questions. Seek God in prayer and through his Word. Talk to other Jesus-followers. Grab a staff member here at White Oak and let’s dialogue. Never stop pursuing. God has never and will never stop chasing us.
The sermon series kicking off the summer on June 5 called Growing Up will help us on this journey of spiritual maturity. Don’t miss a week!
In pursuit of Him,
Lead Pastor, White Oak Christian Church