Introduction; “God gives birth to sons not spiritual babes” Bishop Isaiah.
In Topic 11 we handled bearing fruit, but we need to take it deeper, for there is something that precedes bearing fruit; Maturity. It is only the mature tree that can bear fruit.
Maturity is a pattern of good works in doctrine Titus 2:7-9. Maturity in the Spirit is something more than words; it’s a fruit issue. Fruit is the first evidence of maturity.
Maturity in the Spirit is not measured/ determined by how much time one has spent in salvation, but rather an element of how much time you spend in/with the Spirit (abiding- John 15). Spending time with the Spirit brings men to maturity by the way of knowledge.
How? (Gen 4:1– Adam knew Eve…) wherever there was knowledge of one person by another in the Bible, there was conception. Knowledge of a person often comes from a place of relationship and all relationships are grown by time.
When we spend time with and in the Spirit of God, we know Him better and this enables us to acquire His very nature and to grow in the stature of the fullness of Christ. ( Eph 4:13-16). No man can walk with and in the Spirit of God and not acquire his nature. When we come to such fullness, then we have come to maturity.
The trees never bear fruit for their own consumption. It is important to God that when we are in salvation we grow the place of spiritual maturity because so many of the saints will eat of our fruit to the glory of God.
Our maturity is tested by circumstances around us in the place where we faced with adversity. Gal. 5:16. 10% of maturity is dependent on what is done to you and 90% is dependent on your response.”
SPIRITUALITY VERSUS CARNALITY
Read; Galatians 5:16-26, 1 Peter 2:1-2, Rom 8:1
Flesh or carnality according to the bible is a spiritual element and faculty in a man that naturally has the desire to disobey God. It has everything to do with a man that is not born again and or one that is born again but lacking the full understanding of salvation thereof, and has no relationship with God.
When a man is led by the flesh, the according to the scriptures they are termed as carnal. Carnality is when a man has no regard for the weightier spiritual matters. (Matt 23:23, Phil 1:9-10).
When scripture talks about walking in the Spirit as opposed to walking in the flesh; so many people mistake the Biblical definition of the flesh for the definition of the body .Flesh according to the Bible is not the man’s body, it is a spiritual faculty/entity.
God takes pleasure in the wholeness of the man, and that includes in his body, spirit and his mind. Scripture is clear on the fact that our bodies are the Lord’s temple, and if darkness and light cannot have fellowship, God would not dwell in our bodies if they were evil.
Whereas the flesh is naturally programmed to disobey God, the Spirit naturally craves for righteousness. When a man grows/is growing to spiritual maturity, he will lay aside fleshly desires and willingly be led by the desires Spirit of God. This is the ultimate result of maturity.
A spiritually mature/maturing man will always have the desire do things not by his own way but upholding the way of God. This is what maturity requires: spiritual babes always want to have their own way but the mature hid to the leading of the Holy Ghost. When such a man comes to knowledge, there are things that he cannot do. 1 Cor. 3:1-3.
Three qualities of carnality:
- Strife 2 Cor 12:20
- Envying is in the heart 1 Cor. 3:1-10
A man who brings division among brethren and one who yields to such divisions are both carnal.
REGARDING SPIRITUAL GROWTH
When spiritual maturity is attained, a believer will ably operate in the liberties of the spirit. A spiritually mature person not only learnt how to walk in the Spirit, but also keeps up with the Spirit. When a babe learns to walk in these liberties, they will be overtaken by them to their disadvantage. (1 Cor. 8:29, James 1:25, 2 Cor. 3:17)
We know we are mature when we have liberties in the spirit and we can use the said liberties in accordance with the will of him that gives then to us.
To walk according to the Greek lingua means “to have progress”. When scripture instructs us to walk in the Spirit, it means that there must be progress in our spirits. We need to always walk with a purpose in view. One’s purpose will define establish ones progress. When we walk according to purpose, we shall make due use of every opportunity. We are called to redeem the time.
HOW TO BECOME MATURE:
- “If you ever what to understand the purpose of an invention, ask its inventor”; Abide: John 15.
You cannot mature/bear fruit independent of the very source of your salvation. When scripture talks of salvation as the thing which also angels inquire into (1 Pet 1:10-12), it means that the whole idea of salvation was mystery all creation, even to the spiritual beings/realms. You can only grow into the full maturity in this “mystery” by abiding in the very person that authored it.
We grow by reason of use and practice, maturity in not attained in a day. However, we should have the diligence to learn.
There is a difference between a person willing and desiring to be taught and a person being available to be taught. So many people want the Holy Ghost to teach them, but they are not available. A mere desire will not bring you to growth.
You must put to practice what you have been taught. Prov 24:16 -God is not moved when the righteous man falls along way, but there is an expectation that after the 7th fall (“7” being the number for divine perfection) that man ought to have learnt every lesson that he was taught; and all those lessons put together, he has come to a divine perfection not to fall.
It is God’s perfect will that everybody comes to maturity in the faith. There is nothing that frustrates any loving parent like a babe that is never grows. No wonder Paul had to rebuke the Hebrews in love.
Practice obedience and not disobedience. The Spirit of God will always instruct us, however, contrary to scripture (1 John 5:3 Amp) many people view God’s instruction as burdensome. When we come to appreciate that God’s yoke is not never heavy, we shall learn to obey.
In obedience we grow to maturity; in disobedience we only grow to seared conscience.
You should not settle along the way, when some people begin to attain certain levels of maturity, they get content and build camps. In Deut 1:6, God could not allow the Israelites to settle on the Horeb; their destiny was Canaan not Horeb. Anybody using milk is babe. Do not be content with it, even the earthly men know that babes must be weaned. 1 Pet 2: 2-The purpose of milk is to grow and preserves you until you can eat the meat.
- Whereas a cow can give milk and continue on with its day, for one to get meat a life must be lost. Spiritual maturity comes with a lot of sacrifice. James 1:2-4.
For example; when dealing with different people as a leader, there will be moments where you may have to lay down your rights simply to have peace reign. In the long run, you will manifest the fruit of peace, patience, gentleness and self-control. As we said, maturity precedes the bearing of fruit.
When we come to maturity, then we shall be able to teach what is unadulterated, showing gravity, respect to a pattern and a model of good works and good deeds. 1 Pet 4:11, Phil 1:6
- Milk: Heb 6:1-2, 2 Tim 3:16, 4:3
- Mature food: Titus 2: 7-8 (amp)
As leaders we meet people of all walks of life, some of whom may step on your toes in one way or another. You need to know that all they need is to have test of the fruit of your maturity God. Gal 5:22-24. Simply give them fruit as the situation requires, don’t be discouraged.
Nobody eats good fruit and does not get nourishment. As they eat of your fruit, the Holy Spirit works in them and with or without their knowledge their lives are affected for good to the Kingdome’s advantage.
Topic Reflections & Application
Gal 5:22-24. Examine your life with regard to this scripture and see whether or not you have actively born the full package of the fruit of the Spirit in your life i.e patience, kindness, long suffering etc?
If your answer is “no”, please make sure you meditate on one aspect a part of the fruit every day. (You can write on your wall and your dressing mirror or fridge as a reminder.)