When we first become believers in Jesus Christ as our Savior, we’re like small children: dearly loved and taken care of, but we’re dependent. As we mature in our Christian life, we should become like men and women of God, still his dearly-loved children but with a much different relationship. If we have children and they’re adults, we can see the way our connection with them has changed. Instead of us taking care of them, they take care of themselves and may eventually help take care of us. While we enjoyed playing with our children while they were little, now we’re able to respond to each other as adults, whether we’re working together, doing something more entertaining, or simply talking. That’s what God desires from us.
What marks such a change in our relationship? How can we look at ourselves and see how mature we are? While no rules exist, I think a few measures we can take will help us judge where we are.
- Do we still want everything our own way? A child does; an adult understands that life isn’t like that.
- Do we want to be served or do we enjoy serving others?
- Do we stay close to the Father or do we come and go in our gathering with Him?
- Do we pray mainly for our own needs or do we pray more for others than for ourselves?
- Do we display many of the fruit of the spirit such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (found in Galatians 5:22-23)?
- Do we have intimacy with Father God?
We don’t use this measure to try to figure out where someone else is in their Christian walk; that’s between them and God. Let’s use it to check ourselves to see where we can improve. Philippians 3:12-15 suggests a good response: “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. 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.”