Since our Father wants us to mature in the faith, we should stop periodically and examine our lives to see if we're making progress in this area. Physical growth is fairly easy to evaluate--all you need is a tape measure. But how can you tell if you're growing spiritually? Let's begin by considering how children develop.
Desires: Have you noticed that your childhood toys no longer interest you? The maturing process changes our desires in the spiritual realm too. When we're growing, the world's pleasures lose their appeal, while our hunger for God and His Word increases. We are eager to be with Him and share with others how He's working in our lives.
Understanding: When you were young, your perception of the world was very limited. In the same way, we lack spiritual understanding when we're new believers. But in time, we begin to see life from God’s perspective. Trials and temptations become opportunities for growth, and service for the Lord becomes an honor instead of a burden.
Selflessness: The most obvious sign of a toddler's immaturity is his selfishness. He wants his way, and he wants it now! Hopefully that is no longer characteristic of you. A mature believer is submissive to the Lord, willing to wait, and more concerned about others than himself.
How are you doing in these three areas of growth? Maybe it's time to let go of a few childish ways in order to grow into a mature believer. The greatest evidence of maturity is love. When the Lord and other people have first place in our hearts, it's then that we're most like Jesus.
For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit www.intouch.org.