If someone asked you how you would measure maturity as a Christian, how would you answer? Would you focus on performance, effort, and good works? Here are some of the most common yardsticks Christians give when asked about measuring maturity:
- Daily devotions
- Consistent prayer life
- Weekly witnessing
- Regular church attendance
- Faithful tither
- Scripture memorization
- Outreach oriented
- Mission minded
As good as these answers are, they are not accurate measurements of true maturity in the Christian. Think about it: if faithful, consistent practice of spiritual disciplines was the measure of maturity, the Pharisees would have been the holiest individuals on the planet! Yet Jesus said their holiness never moved from their head to their heart. The Pharisees were more concerned with what their hands and feet were doing than how their heart was beating.
Real Christian maturity is never measured by behavior; it is only to be measured by belief. What we believe about Christ’s behavior on our behalf is the true measurement of our maturity. The Pharisees believed it was all about their work . . . their effort . . . their performance . . . their righteousness. In their eyes, what they did made them holy. And the more they did, the more holy they believed they were. This is why Jesus excoriated them.
Christian maturity is grounded in our understanding that it is all about what Jesus has already done on our behalf . . . His work . . . His effort . . . His performance . . . His righteousness. Our behavior cannot gain for us He has already accomplished for us. Christ’s behavior secured for us everything we need, and it is only in our believing it and re-believing it every day that we find ourselves walking in the way of maturity.
The more we grasp the Gospel, the deeper we drive the roots of Christian maturity into the soil of the sanctified life. Our sense of sin deepens; our hope brightens; our zeal quickens. Daily we must become ever more seized by the truth of God’s unconditional love poured out for us on Golgotha’s Hill—while we were still sinners (see Romans 5:8). If God didn’t wait for us to be good before He loved us, He’s not waiting for us to get better to keep loving us! We are completely loved in the Beloved. The mature Christian is undergirded and uplifted by this truth and walks in it moment by moment.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!