gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, so we read in 1 Corinthians 3:2.
Have you ever wondered if you are still drinking milk in your spiritual walk—or are you ready for, and receiving, solid food? There are a number of signs that indicate our spiritual immaturity but what are the steps we take towards spiritual maturity? How do we know that we have progressed enough in our journey towards eternity so that we may move from milk to solid food?
Although presented in a linear fashion, it is best to consider these ideas in more of a overlapping way where we might take a few steps forward, another back, a few to the side now and again!
The first step towards spiritual maturity is that we are willing to ask the tough question of ourselves: Am I spiritually mature?
This first step indicates that we are willing to admit that we may well indeed suffer from spiritual immaturity. This first step it puts us on the right road.
We have begun to question where we are in our spiritual walk. This makes us aware of circumstances. Maybe we could call it “hyper-aware.” Thus, the second step we take towards spiritual maturity is how we see our life circumstances.
We no longer easily dismiss things we do or are willing to surrender to our bad habits. This doesn’t mean that we are miraculously patient and ever-kind; but, rather, it means that when we do lose our patience, our conscience tugs at us. We “examine” the situation so that we can get to the root of it and ultimately root it out of our lives. It is a long process but we willing—even eager—to embark on it. It feels necessary to us.
The third step on the path of spiritual maturity is actually the burden we begin to carry because of our ongoing interest in rooting out the parts of us that keep us separated from God. Indeed, at this time in our spiritual walk, we may even recognize that instead of “setting us free,” the walk of a believer seems burdensome and heavy.
We see more crosses in our life—not less—because we are beginning to view all things in the way that they affect our relationship with Christ. Things haven’t gotten easier; they seem to have gotten more difficult.
At this point, our prayer life should be increasing exponentially. We spend a great deal of time in prayer, learning the word of God, and delving deeper into our faith. Each new revelation causes us to yearn for more.
We personally understand what St. Augustine meant when he wrote that our hearts our restless until the rest in Jesus. But this isn’t an agitated restless of the world, it is a desire—a hunger—to get ever closer to Christ.
Spiritual maturity reaches a pinnacle—although not permanent, nor static—when we unite our wills to the Lord’s. We may very well reach this point a number of times in our journey since each time brings us closer to Christ than the last and yet there is always an opportunity to go deeper still.
Once we reach spiritual maturity, we may find ourselves satiated for awhile; but never forever. We desire that the Lord takes us into the deepest recesses of his being—and so we begin again at our new level.
We are all called to spiritual maturity and the call of every believer is to embark on the journey until the final journey has been made and we are in our heavenly home.
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