As we progress to new stages in life, God tries to help us grow so we can handle new responsibilities, new opportunities, and new challenges. Life is always changing. It is our constant temptation to stay in our comfort zone and immaturity. But God takes our immaturity and turns it into true strength and spiritual maturity.
“Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”
God uses Gideon to show us the perfect picture of human immaturity. Gideon was afraid and insecure. God was trying to give him a vision of who he could become and the difference he could make in the world. Immaturity is the difference between who we are and who God is calling us to be.
What are some areas in your life that make you feel afraid or insecure? How is God trying to use the challenging circumstances in your life for something better?
The seeds that fell among the thorns represent those who hear the message, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares and riches and pleasures of this life. And so they never grow into maturity. And the seeds that fell on the good soil represent honest, good-hearted people who hear God’s word, cling to it, and patiently produce a huge harvest.
The Bible is the fuel for strength. It is the enemy of immaturity. Holding onto Scriptures makes us capable of developing strength and inspiring those around us to grow too. This Scripture tells us that the “cares and riches and pleasures of this life” prevent the Bible from making our hearts strong leading to spiritual maturity.
How do you see the cares and riches and pleasures in your life affect you?
I am writing to you who are mature in the faith because you know Christ, who existed from the beginning.
1 John 2:13
The Bible equates spiritual maturity with knowing Christ, which means understanding him and trying to be more like him every day.
What do you need to understand more about Christ?
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
Jesus’ life is an example for us of spiritual maturity. Verse 15 teaches us that speaking the truth in love is the process by which we grow towards spiritual maturity in our unity in our relationships with each other and with Christ.
What relationships are challenging for you to “speak the truth in love”?
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.
1 Corinthians 13:11
Leaving childhood behind and becoming an adult isn’t easy! It isn’t just a schedule change. It is a fundamental change in how we think.
What childish ways do you need to put behind? How must your thinking change so you can mature?
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature should take such a view of things.
Faith is at the core of spiritual maturity: always looking forward, never stuck in a moment. Faith keeps us focused on God so we can be ready to make opportunity out of each transition.
Write down 5 challenges or changes you are facing right now. Pray about each of those specifically, and ask God to show you a vision that’s worth the fight.