Hebrews 5:11-6-3 gives believers a clear call to pursue spiritual maturity, challenging us to move forward in our faith beyond the basics. Notice the contrast the author uses to distinguish from the immature and the mature: the child is “unskilled in the word of righteousness” (5:13) while the mature one has the “powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil” (5:14). How do we go from being “unskilled” to “trained”?
I have always been the type of person that sought the right answer. Whether through reading or research, I always thought I could figure things out on my own— no matter if it was an intellectual or a spiritual problem. When I became a Christian in college I quickly learned that would no longer suffice; believing in Christ is an admission of one’s inability to fix themselves.
Once I had come to Christ, I soon realized that I needed to mature and deepen my understanding of the gospel in order for my life to be transformed. Spiritual maturity comes when we aren’t just involving our brains, but now allowing the truth to take root in our hearts as we seek to honor God (the why) and, hopefully, it begins to manifest in how we live our lives. In my own life, there have been three key steps that have helped my maturation process. In full disclosure, this isn’t a recipe for spiritual maturity, but suggested steps that have borne fruit in my life.
- Practicing Spiritual Disciplines.
We may not like the word discipline, but we need to remember its connectedness to the word ‘disciple.’ Learning how to serve, read the Bible, pray, and even share my faith as an act of disciplined worship has been a huge blessing in my life.
Suggested Resource: Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald Whitney. Great introduction to the various spiritual disciplines.
- Reading Christian Biographies.
For some strange reason, I tend to think my problems and struggles are completely unique to me. However, early on in my walk with Christ, I was introduced to reading the biographies of missionaries like Hudson Taylor and Jim Elliot. I quickly learned that the challenges of living out our faith have been faced by others who faithfully endured.
Suggested Resource: Desiring God’s free book library. There’s lots of free ebooks on a variety of people and topics.
- Communal Bible Reading.
Of course the small group guy is going to say this! But even in smaller groups… like of two or three. Four months after coming to Christ, a guy named Paul sat down with me and walked me through the book of Ephesians. That study still impacts my life and my understanding of my identity in Christ. Whether it is with your spouse, a co-worker, or a few friends, it helps us to get to the heart of what the Bible is saying— not simply what we want it to say.
Suggested Resource: One to One Bible Reading by David Helm. This book gives a great format and plan to read through the Bible with someone else, even if you’re not ‘ready’ to lead.
There is not ONE WAY to mature in the Christian life. However, it is all too easy to remain where you are and not move forward in your faith. Wherever you are in your faith, begin to take some step forward— whether it involves one these three or some other path. God desires for his people to be experience the full measure of the abundant life promised to us through Christ. Let’s grow so that we can hold fast to our confession of Christ and the hope set before us (Heb 4:14; 6:18).