Spiritual Maturity

MIF 21:3 (May-June 1989)

Spiritual Maturity

Arthur F. Wilder

“I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go; I will guide thee with mine eye” [Psalm 32:8].

The psalmist tells us that only God can instruct, teach, and guide us in the way we should go. We don’t find the word “education” in the Bible, but we do find a great deal about learning, knowledge, and wisdom. Learning is a lifelong process, but the knowledge we acquire is of little use if we lack the wisdom to apply it to make ethical decisions in a world that is spiritually and morally unstable.

The Scriptures encourage spiritual growth by learning. Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me” [Matthew 11:29]. The Apostle Paul rebuked the Corinthian saints for taking pride in intellectual knowledge and neglecting the spiritual, leaving themselves in a state of spiritual infancy [1 Corinthians 3:1-3]. Peter urged the people in the churches of his day to “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” [2 Peter 3:18]. Solomon applied the great wisdom that God gave him to writing the book of Proverbs [see 1 Kings 4:29-32]. Reading a chapter a day in this book for a month will provide a solid foundation for the spiritual discernment and wisdom necessary to cope with the problems and burdens of life. The prophet Amos told Israel to “prepare to meet thy God” [4:12]. This is good advice for us also and calls for a spiritual maturity that can only be attained by self-discipline in the study of God’s Word with the aid of the Holy Spirit.

As Paul was awaiting execution, his parting advice to Timothy was: “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” [2 Timothy 2:15].