Christian Maturity

I have been thinking about “maturity” in Christ lately; the concept has been coming up in my Bible readings, a sermon and conversation with a friend. I think one of the traps that Christian maturity can produce is the idea that works will earn you greater love from God. The measurement we often use to determine the "mature in Christ" is
  1. The mature in Christ have their lives all together
  2. They do a greater quantity of "holy things "than you
If they meet this measurement we then believe that because of these things God must love them more than He loves you. This idea that their works earned them a place of greater love from God can have 2 possible effects on your walk with Christ: One effect is that you increase your works to the Lord because you believe that it will make Him love you more. If you choose this route and operate out of works as your motivation to be holy you will burn out. Another possible effect it can have is that it causes you to sit on your hands and do nothing. If you have to earn His favor by works, then you'd rather not do anything at all.

For me, the Lord has been stripping away this misconception about maturity in Christ. God does call us to grow in greater maturity in Him but the motivation for our growth should be because we understand His great love for us not the idea that we are trying to earn His love through the things we do. Here are some thoughts I have about Christian maturity:

God's love is our only foundation and it will lead us to places of greater maturity:

Ephesians 3:17-19
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,
may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp
how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,
and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—
that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

When I read these verses I always think of an ocean. God's love is like a vast ocean. His love is available to everyone, the exact same amount. We will never be able to grasp all of it at one time, we will never “arrive” and we will all experience different aspects of it depending on how we engage with it. Sometimes we can sit on the shore and just observe it, or we can go in and play around in it. Finally, as we fall more in love with the ocean we begin to go scuba diving and exploring it even more. In regards to God's love: He loves you PERIOD. As you grow in Christian maturity you will have the opportunity to explore the depth and meaning of that love more and more.

We are ALL children of God, so like children we will ALL go through a process of growth.

One of my favorite quotes is by John Eldredge and it states:

What father would be displeased by the first steps of a teetering baby, and what father would be satisfied with anything less than the strong, sure steps of a full grown man?

For me this quote captures the picture of what Christian maturity should be all about. The Father does not remove His love from you in your journey of faith and the times you trip and fall. He enjoys watching you grow and mature, just as a parent enjoys watching their children grow through the process of maturity. However, we as parents do want our children to grow and be all that they can be and so does God. It doesn't mean He loves us less now, and will love us more when we finally “arrive.” He loves us each step of the way and when we fall down and trip, He want us to allow Him to pick us back up, kiss us and tell us to try again.

Christian maturity should lead you to a place of humility and accessibility to others

As you grow in your faith, love should always come first. Knowledge has the potential of puffing you up and producing a gap between you and others. If your knowledge of God is causing you to set yourself above others then there is an error in it. As I said last time, I am reading Bonehoeffer's biography. One of the things that stands out to me is that Dietrich Bonhoeffer truly lived out the fact that God's love in us was for others and that this held more importance than his knowledge of God. He was a great theologian, who diligently studied the Word of God with the best theologians of his time. He, however, loved children and he believed that if he was not able to bring his knowledge to a place where children could understand God then all his knowledge was in vain. As you become more mature in Christ it should cause you to want to love and serve others more not to sit in judgment of them and their weaknesses.

Our comparison of our “maturity”in Christ should be in comparison to ourselves and not in comparison to our neighbor

Galatians 6:3-4
If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing,
he deceives himself. Each one should test his own actions.
Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else,
for each one should carry his own load.

When you measure your growth in comparison to where you've been it gets rid of the picture of viewing Christian maturity as an idea where the “mature” are closer to God and the less mature are farther away. When you are measuring the growth of your child you don't mark his line and then say, “Look at where your brother was at this age, why aren't you this tall?” We all grow and mature in our faith at different rates. One person's maturity level isn't better than the others. Be who God created you to be and grow in that because He loves you!

To conclude I hope this post encourages you to continue exploring the depth of God's love. May this exploration lead you to greater depths and knowledge of His great love for you and for others. Finally, may we learn to love others right where they are at and never get to the place where we think “we've arrived” in comparison to others.


  1. What a great post. It is easy to become somewhat prideful when the Lord blesses in some way. I've learned over the past 35 years of walking with the Lord that the more mature I become in Him, the smaller I am, the humble I become because I see how short I fall. The upside is being able to rise above the trials and tribulations of this world with confidence in a perfect, loving God. God bless.

  2. I love this post! I like what you read about Bonhoeffer being able to think with the best of the theologians of his day, and love and relate God's love to children.


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