I believe viewing “Spiritual Maturity” as a “Ladder” to be climbed has definite drawbacks. One of the primary drawbacks is that this view can encourage comparisons with other people. We can be tempted to view ourselves on one rung of the ladder, while seeing others on a lower or higher rung. “Spiritual Maturity” is more like a “Winding Path” to take that may not look the same for everyone. The life-lessons that contribute to our maturity are not always as simple as taking one step up on the ladder. Nor is it always as simple as learning something all at once and then you’re done. Actually, some life-lesson that lead to maturity are a matter of degrees, and some take decades to learn. The real issue isn’t what rung of the ladder I’m on, but am I making progress on my journey to spiritual maturity.
2 Peter 1:5-8 mentions seven different graces that are to be developed in us as part of our spiritual maturity. Know that our growth and development doesn’t happen in a vacuum. We grow and develop through our life situations, circumstances and events (even trials and troubles). Here are the seven…
1) Virtue: the proper and excellent fulfillment of something; the determination to do right; fulfilling what you are supposed to do which is glorify God by your life by becoming like Christ and following Him.
2) Knowledge: truth properly comprehended, properly understood, and properly applied; correct insight that comes form the Wisdom of God’s Word and life experience.
3) Temperance (Self-control): application of that mentioned above knowledge so that it affects your reason (thinking), emotion (feeling) and will (doing); it is holding oneself in, self-restrained, self-disciplined; controlling the flesh, the passions, and the bodily desires rather than allowing yourself to be controlled by them.
4) Patience (Perseverance): remaining steadfast to the Lord and His cause regardless of the situations, circumstances and events of life; endurance in doing what is right, never giving up to temptation, never giving up to trial, never giving up to difficulty, never giving up to sin.
5) Godliness: being like God, as He would have you to be and live completely for God and be joyful about it; the practical awareness of God in every area of life—the idea of God-consciousness.
6) Kindness: showing brotherly affection, friendship and mutual sacrifice for others because of our mutual relationship to Christ.
7) Charity (Love): This is the love of the will, the love of choice, the love of volition, not the love of emotion; it is doing what needs to be done in a spirit of self-sacrifice even in spite of your differences with other.
Along my “Winding Path” towards “Spiritual Maturity”, I’m keeping my eyes open for God to use the situations, circumstances and events of my life to grow and develop me. I want to make progress. How about you?