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    Starman's Avatar
    Starman Posts: 1,308, Reputation: 135
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    #1

    May 14, 2006, 10:04 PM
    Spiritually Mature?
    To be "spiritually mature" is to be a Christian who applies the word of God to all aspects of his life and displays the fruitage of the spirit as described in the Bible which he receives because he loves goodness and sincerely wishes to please his creator. This criterion if followed would be sufficient. However, there is sometimes another criterion. This ill-founded idea is that the more frequently and intensely a person preaches the gospel the more spiritually mature he is. Why? Well, because he supposedly is showing greater appreciation for truth than those who are less visibly active in this activity.

    Of course that MIGHT be true sometimes, but unfortunately for those who consider this criterion flawless, such is not always the case. The motives for any given human behavior are complex and varied and multiple reasons for any given behavior might exist. So it is unwise to try to always draw one conclusion from one particular behavior-in this case, spiritual maturity. Just as there are multiple reasons someone might go to the movies, for example, boredom at home, anger, looking for companionship, loneliness, fleeing from the law, murder in mind, interest in the film, work assignment, and so forth, there are likewise multiple reasons someone might be frantically preaching.


    Some persons simply like the privileges or attention they gain by being considered spiritually mature by others at church. Still others might be frantically preaching because they are terrorized that they are going to die at God's hands if they don't. So my sincere recommendation is that the intensity-and-frequency-of-preaching criterion be given less weight in this matter. Why? Because individuals given privileges based upon a supposed spiritual maturity are like loose canons which can be used by Satan to cut a swathe of destruction through the ranks of those who are really spiritually mature and who genuinely show it be displaying the fruit of the spirit and not just by moving their bodies from one place to another and mechanically flapping their jaws.

    Galatians 5:22
    But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,


    Ephesians 5:9
    (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)

    KJV


    Any thoughts?


    Actually, the reason I posted this is twofold. First, to bring this idiocy to the attention of those who are practicing it, and believe me--there are millions, and perhaps in that way bring about at least some change either at an individual or organizational level.

    Second, to prevent the gullible from being victimized by such a claim.

    Third, to get opinions.

    However, if opinions are not forthcoming as I get the impression that they will not be, I will be satisfied with the other two results. No problemo, : )
    valinors_sorrow's Avatar
    valinors_sorrow Posts: 2,927, Reputation: 653
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    #2

    May 15, 2006, 04:13 PM
    Starman, with great respect, I would suggest that this post might fare better if it started. . "To be considered a spiritually mature Christian . . ."?

    I say this simply because there are other ways of being spiritually mature without necessarily being Christian. It is a large and varied world out here, lol.

    For what its worth I have observed others preaching to an unreceptive audience as not only poor spiritual manners, it is often just a silly display of arrogance. And that doesn't necessarily apply to Christians either.

    If you haven't noticed, I am enjoying your posts - Thank you Twink!
    31pumpkin's Avatar
    31pumpkin Posts: 379, Reputation: 50
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    #3

    May 15, 2006, 04:47 PM
    Valinors sorrow:

    I really would like to see someone post about their being Spiritually mature without being a Christian.

    Oh I can't wait to hear that!
    jduke44's Avatar
    jduke44 Posts: 407, Reputation: 44
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    #4

    May 15, 2006, 05:03 PM
    I'd like to take a stab at this hoping I hit the point that your making. I will also take valinors_sorrow's point of going the Christian route so y'all know where I'm coming from.

    One good example of what Starman might be talking about is what happened to my wife and I when we decided to get married. We wnet to the same church and the pastor there has a policy that you must go through 6 months of marriage counseling with a "mature" couple. Mature being long lasting in their marriage. Anyway, since we wanted to get married in 4 months which he actually urged us to, he said we really didin't need to go through counseling. Why? I was an elder there and she went to the church for many years so he lookedat us as "mature" Christians. The point is, we may have gone to the church awhile and I was an elder but we didn't feel that we should have been "left out" of the counseling. We wanted to but knew we didn't have the 6 months time that many others did. We decided to prepare on our own.

    On the outside we seemed very mature in our faith to be able to handle marriage but on the inside, we were like everyone else and needed ot be counseled.

    I agree with you Starman, that who may look mature on the outside may not necessarily be mature on the inside.

    Another quick example is Billy Graham. Everyone would agree that he is a mature Christian. I think the only one who would disagree would be him.

    This is of course from a Christian point of view. Anyone can answer from their perspective and still have a vild point. :)
    NeedKarma's Avatar
    NeedKarma Posts: 10,635, Reputation: 1706
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    #5

    May 15, 2006, 05:29 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by 31pumpkin
    I really would like to see someone post about their being Spiritually mature without being a Christian.

    Oh I can't wait to hear that!.
    Actually the two are not at all necessarily related. You certainly do NOT have to be a christian in order to be spiritual.
    31pumpkin's Avatar
    31pumpkin Posts: 379, Reputation: 50
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    #6

    May 15, 2006, 06:24 PM
    From my experience of going off & on to church, I'm hearing from ministers both at church & on TV/Radio that spiritual growth takes place in seasons.
    The minister might say something like " we can have more spiritual growth in the valleys then we could ever have on the mountaintops." Sometimes we are in a neutral season. How long and how intense our experiences with our relationship to God tends to bring about spiritual maturity.

    If we want to be spiritually mature we are supposed to" hear" the Word, Which can come the pastor. But Paul said that if we want to be wise, if we want to "correctly handle the word of truth"," we must be workmen (2 Timothy 2:15 ). We must not be idlers when it comes to Bible study.

    God does not want us to remain spiritually immature.

    Ephesians 4:13-15 :
    Become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up.

    People can have generous helpings when it comes to the fruit of the Spirit.
    Love, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, righteousness, truth.
    Whoever can see their examples can see their maturity in Christ. Anyone can preach anything, but they have to believe it too.
    Starman's Avatar
    Starman Posts: 1,308, Reputation: 135
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    #7

    May 15, 2006, 07:56 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by 31pumpkin

    People can have generous helpings when it comes to the fruit of the Spirit.
    Love, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, righteousness, truth.
    Whoever can see their examples can see their maturity in Christ. Anyone can preach anything, but they have to believe it too.
    That is exactly what I am referring to. You hit the nail right on the head.
    When I lived in Chicago, I met a person who from all outward appearances was spiritually mature. She attended all the church services, and was very actively trying to help others understand the Bible. One day, the subject of God's Kingdom came up. Whereupon she said" Are you really believing all that stuff?"

    Another example was a minister who was considered spiritually mature because he had a status of great responsibility in his church and preached to thousands. All seemed well until one day it was discovered that he was a regular customer of a local prostitute.

    One individual who was supposedly a paragon of spirituality I asked for a favor based on my feeling ill. He refused. When I said that Jesus would not behave that way, he said: "Jesus isn't here right now."

    Another seemingly mature person was given overeeing responsibilities and began using them to commit adultery.

    For these reasons and many others which I personally observed and experienced, I reached the conclusion that no one should be tagged as being spiritually mature based on simply his or her seeming dedication to be constantly spreading biblical knowledge to others.

    As you just said, other qualities such as kindness, patience, compassion, and love are far better to determine that. Perhaps before a person is assigned to be set up as a shepherd of the flock, and tagged as an elder, his an employer should be contacted and asked concerning behavior at work. Or neighbors asked to give an opinion. Or else the person's spouse and his kids. Perhaps that would give a more balanced view of just how sincere the person really is instead of just singlemindedly looking at his hours in the service.

    BTW
    Congratulations on the birth of your baby! Boy or girl? : )
    Starman's Avatar
    Starman Posts: 1,308, Reputation: 135
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    #8

    May 15, 2006, 08:14 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by valinors_sorrow
    Starman, with great respect, I would suggest that this post might fare better if it started . . "To be considered a spiritually mature Christian . . ."?

    I say this simply because there are other ways of being spiritually mature without necessarily being Christian. It is a large and varied world out here, lol.

    For what its worth I have observed others preaching to an unreceptive audience as not only poor spiritual manners, it is often just a silly display of arrogance. And that doesn't necessarily apply to Christians either.

    If you haven't noticed, I am enjoying your posts - Thank you Twink!
    As humans we all have the potential to display compassion, love, patience self control, and all the other qualities as outlined in the scriptures. That's because regardless of our religion, we are all made in God's image and can reflect that image-though imperfectly in our conduct.

    Genesis 1:27
    So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them

    KJV

    However, when we become a Christian, God will use his holy spirit to intensify those qualities and help us develop others that we might be weak in or missing.


    BTW
    Thanks for the feedback!
    talaniman's Avatar
    talaniman Posts: 54,051, Reputation: 10852
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    #9

    May 15, 2006, 08:26 PM
    Spiritual maturity comes when your relationship with the creator that you understand, leads you to the path of growth and understanding of you, and the world around you, and gives you a clear vision of how to act and treat others, be they enlightened or not. It also gives you the strength of conviction to see you through adversity and empowers you to influence those around you by actions and deeds and sometimes by words. The journey is never ending, but you always strive to grow and search for the truth.:cool: :)
    Starman's Avatar
    Starman Posts: 1,308, Reputation: 135
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    #10

    May 15, 2006, 08:38 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by talaniman
    Spiritual maturity comes when your relationship with the creator that you understand, leads you to the path of growth and understanding of you, and the world around you, and gives you a clear vision of how to act and treat others, be they enlightened or not. It also gives you the strength of conviction to see you through adversity and empowers you to influence those around you by actions and deeds and sometimes by words. The journey is never ending, but you always strive to grow and search for the truth.:cool: :)
    How would we differentiate spiritually mature conduct from conduct caused by regular character maturity? Let's say we have two persons. One is a Christian and the other is a Buddhist. Let's say that both believe in being honest and kind. How would their conduct differ?

    Wisdom: What Is Maturity
    talaniman's Avatar
    talaniman Posts: 54,051, Reputation: 10852
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    #11

    May 15, 2006, 09:03 PM
    I would think that they would both act pretty much the same if they where at the same place as far as spiritual growth goes, and they would be tolerant of one another's differences. As for being able to tell if conduct is spiritually mature or having a mature character, you got me on that one ,for the moment. Starman you sure ask a lot of questions and I'll be doggone if they aren't good ones!:cool: :)
    valinors_sorrow's Avatar
    valinors_sorrow Posts: 2,927, Reputation: 653
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    #12

    May 16, 2006, 05:41 PM
    For me, spirituality is to food as religion is to regional cooking, no disrespect intended here. It takes a pretty global point of view to see that all religions are valid to their believers. But it's a small world and getting smaller all the time.

    But more so I think the world is beginning to understand that religious intolerance (from ANY camp, in ANY form) does some pretty wicked things to humanity. Does it take being any particular faith to see that? I don't think so.

    I have seen in my lifetime world religious leaders become more respectful of other faiths, including and almost starting with Billy Graham. Trust me, I am paying some close attention to this very thing and have been for some time now.

    Shoot even the Pope made a public apology to the Jewish people about how the Catholic Church looked the other way during the Holocaust, which was remarkable!

    Spiritual maturity is always remembering that we are all (flawed) human beings having a spirtual experience while here on earth. It exceeds character maturity by a long shot in my book and its something that when I see it in other people's faces, I recognise instantly even if it is hard to describe in words. My heart knows, and I would be willing to bet my last dying breath all of your hearts know too, regardless of your faith.
    DrJ's Avatar
    DrJ Posts: 1,328, Reputation: 339
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    #13

    May 16, 2006, 06:11 PM
    You cannot claim that Spiritual Maturity only applies to Christians. Spirituality was around much longer than Christianity.

    As for the Spiritually Mature Christian vs. the Spiritually Mature Buddhist, you cannot tell the difference... they would portray many of the same qualities.

    Spiritual Maturity has as much to do with the Bible as it does with the dictionary.

    People who preach the Bible for attention, fame, etc. are obviously not spiritually mature.

    Even those who preach the Word for God to bring more people to Him are not necessarily Spiritually Mature.

    Im pretty certain that the VAST majority of Christians are not Spiritually Mature... Religiously Mature? Maybe. Spiritually Mature? Not often.
    magprob's Avatar
    magprob Posts: 1,877, Reputation: 299
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    #14

    May 16, 2006, 07:55 PM
    The only difference I see between Christians and Buddhist is that the Christains are always talking to GOD and the Buddists just sit and listen to GOD. I saw the Dahli Lama in Sun Valley, Idaho last year, and I will tell you, he is the sweetest, kindest, most human person I have ever witnessed. I know GOD whispers to him and to Billy Graham as well. I believe that GOD will whisper to anyone that will just sit and listen. Call yourself what you will, call it the holy ghost or casper the friendly ghost... it just does not matter. You can't fit it into a box! The source of all good and all truth comes from the same place. When a person learns to meditate on GOD, instead of trying to persuade GOD, GOD speaks to them. IN PERFECT SLILENCE! That, I feel, is true spiritual maturity.
    31pumpkin's Avatar
    31pumpkin Posts: 379, Reputation: 50
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    #15

    May 16, 2006, 08:06 PM
    Yes the Lord speaks to me to my Holy Spirit in prayer. We must allow for the quiet time to hear His still small voice.
    milliec's Avatar
    milliec Posts: 262, Reputation: 55
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    #16

    May 16, 2006, 08:40 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by magprob
    The only difference I see between Christians and Buddist is that the Christains are always talking to GOD and the Buddists just sit and listen to GOD. I saw the Dahli Lama in Sun Valley, Idaho last year, and I will tell you, he is the sweetest, kindest, most human person I have ever witnessed. I know GOD whispers to him and to Billy Graham as well. I beleive that GOD will whisper to anyone that will just sit and listen. Call yourself what you will, call it the holy ghost or casper the freindly ghost...it just does not matter. You can't fit it into a box! The source of all good and all truth comes from the same place. When a person learns to meditate on GOD, instead of trying to persuade GOD, GOD speaks to them. IN PERFECT SLILENCE! That, I feel, is true spiritual maturity.
    You're right. The problem is people don't listen to each other, so how can they listen to god?
    BUNNYPOO4's Avatar
    BUNNYPOO4 Posts: 30, Reputation: 2
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    #17

    Aug 30, 2007, 09:50 AM
    I consider my 5 year old more than "spiritually mature",. this is a kid whom has expressed interests in "God and Christ" since he was 3. He has not forgotten. Many times, he will tell us stories from the bible... although we are Catholic, we are not practicing Catholics on both my husbands side and my side of the family. We aren't sure where he gets his information from,. although, he tells us "God talks to him". Just yesterday, he told me "ya know mommy God created everything",. I asked who told him,. "he said you know mommy,... God did"

    This is also a kid that in his classroom setting is the only one I see extremely attentive to what is being said or taught. His attention span is long for a kid his age. And he is an abstract thinker...

    With this said, I feel that he is extremely "spiritually mature"
    Marily's Avatar
    Marily Posts: 457, Reputation: 51
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    #18

    Sep 6, 2007, 03:21 AM
    Ive read this somewhere...
    BUNNYPOO4's Avatar
    BUNNYPOO4 Posts: 30, Reputation: 2
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    #19

    Sep 6, 2007, 04:42 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by Marily
    Ive read this somewhere...
    About my story? This happening with someone else?
    inthebox's Avatar
    inthebox Posts: 787, Reputation: 179
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    #20

    Sep 6, 2007, 09:59 PM
    Great and tough question Starman:

    I think there are those who preach the Gospel, because they have found the truth and joy, and they truly want to share it with others. Its also Biblical - Matthew 28.

    Then there are those who feel pressured by other Christians, to produce "fruit" to show to others [ Christian or not ]. This is sad and smacks of legalism. Its amazing that the message of grace and the possibility of unconditional love is hidden by the demands for performance.

    I'm somewhere in between.

    I use to feel guilty because I'm not on some mission in a third world country and sold all my earthly belongings, and still curse and get angry and lust etc...
    Who cares, God knows I'm less of an a.s.s.h... then I was before I accepted him. And,
    It has taken me awhile to realize that no one comes to faith by arguing about it or proving it.



    Grace and Peace

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