Spiritual Maturity

Galatians 522–23 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Galatians 5:16–26 (ESV)

16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

Understanding and Applying the Word

What comes to mind when you hear the words “spiritual maturity”? Perhaps you think of the person who knows their Bible really well. Maybe you think of someone who has been a Christian for many years. Or maybe you imagine the person who is at church every time the doors are open. Those are all good things. Those are all things that many spiritually mature Christians do. However, those are not the marks of maturity.

All true Christians have the Holy Spirit working in their lives. The Spirit is at work to mold us and shape us more and more into the godly people we are called to be. The spiritually mature person is the one who shows forth a godly character, the fruit of the Spirit, in their life. The spiritually mature person is the one who displays love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Notice that all of these characteristics focus on how we relate to other people. We may have great Bible knowledge, have been Christians for fifty years, and go to church three times per week, but if we do not love others, we are immature and a long way from displaying the godly character we should. Let us examine ourselves and ask if we are growing in our spiritual walk and let us ask God to help us bear spiritual fruit.

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