What Does the Path to Spiritual Maturity Look Like?

Kyle Davies   -  

The Path to Spiritual Maturity

What does it mean to be spiritually mature? For many, spirituality is shrouded in mystery, full of obscure rituals and arcane knowledge. But true spiritual maturity is accessible to all who seek it.

At its core, spiritual maturity is about moving from self-centeredness to other-centeredness. It’s a process of growth that involves humility, self-examination, and shifting priorities. Becoming spiritually mature is a lifelong journey, not a destination. But it starts with laying the right foundation.

The Foundation: Repentance and Faith

Spiritual infancy to maturity begins with repenting from sin and placing faith in Jesus. Repentance is not just feeling sorry for mistakes, but involves a fundamental reorientation of the heart. It’s moving away from self-reliance and control to dependence on God.

Faith is more than intellectual assent to a set of beliefs. It’s personally entrusting oneself to the mercy and grace of Jesus, believing he alone offers salvation. This repentance from sin and faith in Christ is the bedrock for spiritual growth.

With this foundation firmly in place, immature attitudes and behaviors can start giving way to Christlike character. Certain mindset shifts are required to grow toward maturity.

Shifts on the Journey:

From Ease to Difficulty

Spiritual growth means embracing difficulty, not always seeking comfort and ease. Suffering has a unique power to develop godly virtues like patience, humility and endurance. The path of maturity leads through trials, not around them.

From Self to Others

Whereas infants are consumed with their own needs, maturity considers the needs of others. The mature Christian looks out for the interests of others, not just their own. They pour their lives out in service, motivated by love.

From Center Stage to Supporting Role

Immature faith believes “it’s all about me.” But in reality, we’re part of a much bigger spiritual story. Spiritual maturity adjusts self-importance and embraces a supporting role in God’s grand narrative.

From Control to Surrender

Young children feel they can bend life to their will. But maturity recognizes the limits of human control. The spiritually mature pray “not my will but yours be done,” surrendering daily to God’s sovereign plan.

From Temporary to Eternal

Living for the moment versus the eternal perspective is another hallmark of immaturity. Spiritual growth considers the consequences of present choices in light of eternity. Investment in temporary things gives way to storing up eternal treasure.

Cultivating Maturity

Growth in these areas occurs as we fix our eyes on Jesus. We can’t manufacture maturity in our own strength. It happens as we behold Christ’s glory and character. His love compels our imitation.

We must also become aware of ingrained thought patterns keeping us immature. Triggers like fear of man, greed and pride inhibit growth. Recognizing these hang-ups allows the Spirit to renew our minds.

The journey has joys and struggles. We won’t arrive overnight. But the Spirit patiently develops maturity as we yield in faith. Our lives will bear increasing fruit—love, joy, peace and more. Others will taste God’s goodness through us.

Count the Cost

This path of maturity does not come without a cost. It requires laying down cherished idols and dying to self. We reap eternal rewards, but not always immediate gratification. Vigilance is needed to resist backsliding into childish ways.

For those who’ve tasted God’s truth yet reject it, the way back to repentance becomes difficult. They recrucify Christ, holding him up to contempt. After experiencing God’s goodness, they fall away, only tasting but not truly ingesting. They consume without ever contributing. Their faith proves dead, never resulting in a transformed life bearing righteous fruit.

Yet for all who sincerely seek God, the door stands open. Jesus sympathizes with our weakness and provides mercy and grace to help us mature. He ushers us boldly yet gently into our Father’s presence.

The journey continues all our lives. But at every stage, we can move forward in maturity by keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus. He is the author and perfecter of our faith. The work he begins, he promises to carry on to completion. By his power, spiritual infants can grow into the very image of Christ.