Spiritual maturity can sound complicated. But don’t worry—everyone’s somewhere on the journey, and we’re all a work in progress. Anyone can grow their faith and become more spiritually mature through simple, consistent steps. So together, let’s learn more about what it means to be spiritually mature and explore some practical ways you can develop your relationship with God today.
What Is Maturity?
Imagine this scene: Two young brothers begin playing in a clean room with a box full of toys. Now picture the room two hours later—what does it look like? Whatever might have happened, there’s no scenario that includes a room that’s still tidy.
When my brother and I were young, we were lucky if one of us wasn’t injured or crying by the end of a play session. Our parents quickly learned never to expect a room to stay clean if we were given free rein to play to our hearts’ content. Why? Because we were immature children.
But a few years later, the story would have a different outcome. We became aware of the responsibility of taking care of our toys and learned to share toys that we both wanted to play with. We knew that cooperation and tidiness yielded a reward—more uninterrupted playtime. These were markers of maturity.
What Is Spiritual Maturity?
Spiritual maturity can be confusing and intimidating. In a lot of ways, it’s harder to qualify than physical, mental, or emotional maturity. Paul, one of Jesus’ most passionate followers in the early church, says this about maturity:
Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. Ephesians 4:15 NIV
Another translation puts it that “we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ” (ESV).
In a simple sense, spiritual maturity is just the result of becoming more like Jesus Christ. The point is not to worry about making progress or elevating your status with God. Instead, the goal should be to invite Jesus into every part of your life. Spiritual maturity reflects closeness with Jesus.
In another passage of Scripture, Paul talks about spiritual babies and spiritual adults. He writes:
Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. 1 Corinthians 3:1-2 NIV
Paul warned these believers that their faith was immature. Why? Because they were less concerned with following Jesus and more concerned with arguing about their favorite Christian leaders.
So Paul encouraged them to remember their mission: to become more like Jesus every day and to help others come to know the grace and forgiveness of God. That’s how they would grow up from spiritual babies into spiritual adults.
Spiritual Development Is a Process
Spiritual maturity is a process, not a destination. Becoming mature requires intentional habits so we can become more like Jesus every day. The journey toward becoming spiritually mature looks a little different for everyone. So use this list of three questions to identify how you can take one step toward spiritual maturity today.
3 Questions to Ask if You Want to Grow in Spiritual Maturity
1. Am I growing in closeness with Jesus?
Once we decide to follow Jesus, we naturally want to grow to be more like Him and get closer to Him. One great way to do this is to waste time with God. Yes, you read that correctly: Waste time with God. Here’s what I mean.
Think about your best friend. When you spend time with them, are you always drilling them with requests and questions? No. In any good relationship, you do random things together. God doesn’t want a rigid relationship with you. He wants to be closer than that. Go on a walk with God. Watch a sunset with Him. Just talk to Him as you would talk to a friend. Think about prayer as an opportunity to connect with God, rather than a way to submit requests and questions.
So try “wasting” some time with God today. Simply acknowledge His presence as you vacuum your house or go on a walk. As you do, you’ll turn those ordinary moments into acts of worship.
2. Am I growing in discipline and obedience to Jesus?
When we decide to follow Jesus, we’re also invited to walk in obedience to His words. In John 15, Jesus says:
“Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” John 15:4 NIV
There are many ways to remain in Jesus Christ, but one of them is to start some spiritual habits, also known as spiritual disciplines. These include reading the Bible, fasting, resting, journaling, and many more. Spiritual disciplines are designed to connect you with God and are helpful everyday practices for followers of Jesus. Even when it isn’t convenient to take time out of your day to try one (or more!) of the spiritual disciplines, you can decide to prioritize them. Just remember—they are invitations to grow closer to God, not expectations.
3. Am I growing in love for others?
In Matthew 22:34-40, Jesus gave two commandments that outclass all the others. They are to love God with everything you’ve got and to love your neighbor in the same way you want to be loved. One way to identify a mature follower of Jesus Christ is by the way they love other people!
There are tons of ways to love people. You might identify a need in your community and volunteer your time and resources to make a difference. Or you could spend some time getting to know next-door neighbors. Another great option is to look for ways to serve your local church.
As followers of Jesus we’re called to make daily decisions to love others. As we do, we’ll grow in our closeness with God, which produces spiritual maturity.
Remember, Christian Maturity Is a Process
Keep in mind that these aren’t just idle questions to ask or rigid rules to live by. Spiritual maturity is not a destination to reach, but a process you begin the moment you start following Jesus.
You Can Be a Spiritually Mature Christian
On this side of heaven, no one will reach the status of having complete spiritual maturity. When we pursue maturity in Jesus Christ, we find fulfillment and purpose that can’t be found anywhere else. As we grow in maturity, we’ll also grow in our wisdom and knowledge. We’ll also experience greater peace because of our close relationship with God.
Becoming Spiritually Mature Together
Jesus delights in our desire to grow closer to Him in spiritual maturity, and the process is not something we have to tackle alone. Spiritual growth is something we are privileged and encouraged to pursue with others. If you want to learn more about finding community, feel free to check out one of our LifeGroups!