A friend and I have been talking about signs of Christian maturity and that you can often tell how mature a person is in their faith by how they respond to conflicts and how they treat people who they view as wrong or with whom they disagree.
Although scripture talks about mature believers and infant believers, I have noticed there’s also an intermediate maturity level.
Sometimes, people who shouldn’t still be behaving like a baby Christian are. Sometimes, the church encourages immaturity in its believers by teaching untruths or having very little actual teaching at all. Some churches intentionally keep their congregants immature so that they are easier to control and don’t question doctrines which should actually be questioned.
I have noticed that most people seem to stay in the intermediary maturity level (or Teen Christian on the chart). They don’t seem to mature past intermediate biblical knowledge.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with acting like a baby when you’re actually a baby or acting like a teen when you’re a teen. But if an adult is acting like a teen or a baby, that’s not what God intended.
Paul addressed this in his letter to the Corinthians. He said that the Corinthians weren’t able to handle the meat of the truth. Other passages tell us that we have to choose to grow in Jesus. See here, here and here.
Growth is commanded in scripture. That means that, unlike physical growth, it doesn’t happen automatically, or we wouldn’t need a command. We have to intentionally choose to grow in Jesus Christ. Unlike physical growth, spiritual growth doesn’t happen at a consistent predictable rate.
There’s no shame in being immature in Christ if you’re a young believer, but I encourage you to look at the chart, consider where you are, and pursue growth through reading your bible and correctly applying it to your life. Consider if you should be more mature than you are and seek that growth by active pursuit of knowing God better through the Bible.
Consider if the church you’re attending is encouraging or hindering your growth. Are there plenty of mature Christians (according to the chart) in leadership at your church who can encourage you to a greater understanding of Christ? Would they actually call you out and try to lovingly correct you if they knew there was habitual sin in your life? If not, seek to be that person for others.
Find a new church if you need to. Not every church that claims the name of Jesus is actually following him, unfortunately. It’s hard to have fellowship and grow in a church made up of people who are extremely immature and maybe even unsaved. This is unfortunately very common in America.
This chart is actually helping me to give grace to others who may be less mature than I am. It is not my place to decide where someone should be on this chart. It is not my place to judge that someone is more immature than they should be because Jesus is working in all our lives differently. But, it is helpful to look at the chart and remember that He who began a good work in us is faithful to complete it, in His time and in His way.
It helps me see the bigger picture, maybe a little glance at what God sees.