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A Measurement of Spiritual Maturity

A Measurement of Spiritual Maturity

I have a friend who is also a pastor.  He is the pastor of a homeless church here in San Antonio.  One of his favorite statements is: It works if you work it. He’s talking about the Biblical principles God gives us in His Word.  It is one thing to know the Biblical principles, yet a whole other thing to live them out. I have seen so often when people stray from principles they know to be true and they suffer as a result.  The question is not whether or not we know God’s principles for life, but are we living them out daily. It is a question of spiritual maturity. And that brings us to our Verse of the Day:

 

1 John 4:16-18

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

(NIV)

 

Spiritual maturity is measured in our ability to love as God loves. 

Spiritual immaturity is seen in fear, anxiety, stress, and worry. This is how we measure our spiritual walk.  Love is not natural for us. Infatuation is very natural, but this is an affection we have for someone who makes us feel loved.  Infatuation is more a result of being loved, not loving. We have to remember that even those who hate God can love those who love them (Luke 6:32).  God’s love and our maturity are measured by our ability to love those who do not love us. In our daily relationships, it is measured by our ability to love someone even as they are not loving us at the moment.

There are people we love, but we don’t always act like it.  They love us, but they don’t always act like it. But love is defined in Scripture in terms of behavior and attitude.  

 

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails.

(NIV)

 

Spiritual maturity is measured in love because God is love. 

He commands us to love and first, gives us His love to be able to fulfill the command He gives us to love others.  Our ability to love like this when someone is not treating us the same way is a measure of God’s power alive in us and our willingness to follow His commands.  Remember, Jesus taught that love fulfills all the law (Matthew 22:37-40).

The other side of the spectrum is fear.  Fear keeps us from loving. The fear of not being loved keeps me focused on other people’s behavior toward me more than my behavior toward them.  I am so focused on their patience with me that I may not be so patient. This fear makes me self-focused and thus self-seeking. Fear works the same way even when it is not relationship fear.

If fear creeps into our financial situation, it does the same thing in that it causes us to be hypervigilant about our own issues.  When we are so focused on ourselves, we are not focused on others and true love is always others-focused.

 

It works if you work it. 

When we live in love….aha…that is behavior, we live in God and love is made complete.  Our spirit is matured. Now, I know it is not easy. It is not easy for anyone. We must fight the temptations such as fear to be self-focused and resist in order to love better.  But the more we ‘behave’ according to love in Scripture, which also includes having the right attitude, the more we are filled with God’s love. It helps us grasp just how much He loves us.  When we combine is limitless love with His incomparable promises and infinite power, fear has nowhere left to roam.

I want to encourage you and me too 🙂 to keep striving to love better.  This behavior keeps our spirit connected to His spirit, fills us with overwhelming love, perfects our spirit, and purifies our hearts.  If you work it, it will work. 

Not only this, but the Lord has given us His Spirit, which empowers us with the self-discipline necessary to live in love.  So…it’s hard sometimes…but we can do it. Love better.

Don’t be someone who knows the secret wisdom of God but never lives in it.  God has wonderful things for you, but we have to go get them by living in these principles.  It will work if you work it.

How well do you love?  Are you seeing an improvement as your relationship with God becomes more intimate?  Leave me a comment.  Please share, like, tweet, and all that stuff.  The worlds needs a little more Jesus (Ok…a lot more Jesus)

Live Blessed and Be a Blessing!


Pastor Lee and AmyPastor Lee is a pastor and Biblical life coach.  He has been helping people through counseling, pastoring, teaching, and preaching for 20+ years.  His ministry focuses on helping people overcome the strongholds of the past and press on into God’s plan for an abundant life.  He has been married to his wife, Amy for 28 years.  He has three sons and one daughter-in-love.  For more about Pastor Lee or to get some Biblical advice, go to the About page.

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