Would you describe yourself as a mature believer? When do you know that you are a mature believer? There was a time in my life when I asked myself that question. I would never have described myself as a mature believer as I had always seen myself as young compared to other believers that had served and loved the Lord in ministry for years. Also, there is a part of me that wants to be a young believer, because then, in a way, there is the incentive to grow up in your spiritual walk to become mature.
Not that becoming a mature believer means there is no space for growth, there is always growth. There are always “elementary truths” that we tend to forget and naturally backslide in our faith. In fact, anything left to itself will deteriorate, and a neglected faith is a deteriorating faith. So, if there is always room for growth and a work of maintenance on our faith, when are you a mature believer?
Paul speaking to believers in Hebrews 5:12-14
“In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”
Infants are “not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness” and have not “trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” All very well, but what does that look like? I meditated on this and came up with a list:
The mature have:
- A good understanding and love for scripture and how to apply it to their lives (Heb 4:12). They are actively implementing the Word of God into their lives (James 1:25).
- A strong faith, that is actively believing and not dependent on circumstances or the opinions of people.
- Are not moved, or become un-anchored by doubt, fear of external possibilities. They no longer demonstrate a tendency towards split loyalties, to God and… (no doubt).
- They hold onto a good conscience (1 Tim 1:19)
- Their faith is progressive, they apply diligence to their walk of faith. (2 Peter 1:5), they are moving from “glory to glory” (2 Cor 3:18) and becoming greater and greater reflections of Christ.
- They enliven the faith of others with the overflow of their own faith.
- They contend for the faith (Jude 1:3), stand firm (Eph 6:14) and fight the enemy (2 Tim 4:7) to expand the Kingdom.
- They abide in Christ (John 15:4), are rooted in Him, growing and built up (Col 2:7), so that they offer “shelter” to other believers (Matt 13:32).
- They resist temptation (1 Cor 10:13), both their own evil desires (2 Peter 1:4) and that of the enemy (James 4:7). They fight the good fight with the “sword” of the Spirit and the “shield” of faith, wearing the full armor (Eph 6:10-18)
- They are filled with the Holy Spirit, sensitive to His direction and voice, co-operating with His guidance and teaching in their lives.
- They are successful in tests of their faith and patiently endure (Rev 3:10)
- They examine themselves to see if their faith is strong ( 2 Cor 13:5)
- They are increasing their support to others, being an example to follow (1 Cor 11:1), they reach out to others, support them and demonstrate a growing love for God’s people (2 Thes 1:3)
- They understand how faith and prayer operate. Mature believers know how to pray and are about the business of prayer for themselves and others, furthering God’s kingdom.
- By their influence, actively mentor and encourage the faith of others, making sure to supply what is lacking in the faith of others (1 Thes 3:10). They use their spiritual gifting to further and establish the Kingdom of God (Eph 4:11-15)
So, how did you do? It is not a complete list, by no means, but a good list to meditate on and identify areas of growth.
A mature believer has responsibilities and has been trained to fulfill those responsibilities. Paul’s mission (a mature believer) was to:
- Build up believers in their faith, which may mean teaching the same things over and over again to “safeguard” their faith, making the “strong” in faith, “firm” in faith, so that we receive “good reports of their faith”. (2 Tim 4:2)
- To teach believers (1 Cor 14:26, Col 1:28)
- To reach the unreached (Matt 28:18-20)
- To expand the Kingdom (Luke 4:43).
Or are you still growing up? Are you still needing someone to teach you elementary truths? Are you still someone who needs training? Don’t waste your calling by the Lord, grow up, work out your salvation, so that you may be productive and fruitful.
“Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:10-11)
Father God thank you that Your work in my is not finished yet and will be carried on to completion on the day of Christ Jesus. Thank you for calling me to You and making it possible to have a relationship with You. Thank you Holy Spirit for living in my heart and teaching me, guiding me and building me up so that I may become mature not lacking in anything. Help me to work on the areas I have identified today and work at maturing in my understanding and knowledge so that I may fulfill my purpose in Your Kingdom.