Stages of Christian Maturity Mk 10:15 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
As Christians we should go through stages of maturity, just like we go through natural stages of growth. Physically, we start out as newborns and progress to full maturity through our lives. But Christians don’t always grow to full maturity. In many cases your growth is stunted for one reason or another. By examining the stages of maturity, you can see where you are in your growth and you can see whether you are “on track” to reach full maturity.
First Stage: Birth – Mk 10:15 – you enter the kingdom of God as a little child, or as Peter says, “newborn babes,” [1 Pet 2:2]. In other words, to enter the kingdom of God you must be born into it [Jn 3:3-7]. No matter how many years you have lived, or how many years you have been an active member of a church, if you have never been born again, you are not a child of God. You cannot even begin to grow until you are born again.
Second Stage: Childhood – in childhood, it is essential that you are nourished in the words of God. As babes need milk to live and grow, so you must feed on the words of God [1 Pet 2:2]. God has especially blessed children to believe and know his words [2 Tim 3:15; Lk 10:21]. Children’s Sunday school and Wednesday Bible Clubs are necessary and home reading and teaching [Deut 6:6-7] are indispensable. If you are an adult, physically, when you get saved, you must begin with the milk of the word before you can handle the meat [Heb 5:12-14].
Third Stage: Youth – youth is the stage between childhood and adulthood. The trouble with this stage is two-fold. Either, Christians are stuck in their childhood and don’t grow out of it, or they assume that they can jump to adulthood and skip this stage, altogether. To grow properly, you can’t skip this stage and you can’t stop in childhood. According to Lk 2:42-52, in your youth you begin to “hear” well enough to ask pertinent questions [Is 50:4]. You understand the words of God well enough to know how to answer “as the oracles of God,” [1 Pet 4:11]. You also begin to do your “Father’s business,” while remaining subject to your parents, if you are still living at home. In this stage you increase in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man. And you are strong enough to overcome the wicked one [1 Jn 2:13-14].
Fourth Stage: Adulthood – in adulthood, you are in a very strong and stable relationship with the Lord [1 Cor 15:58]. You know him [1 Jn 2:13-14; Phil 3:10]. In understanding, you are a man [1 Cor 14:20]. Nevertheless, you are humble and not proud. Compared with the Father, you are still a child [1 Ki 3:7; Ps 131:2-3]. Your foundation is solid [Lk 6:47-48]. You are strong enough to handle the meat [Heb 5:12-14] and to teach others [2 Tim 2:2].
Fifth Stage: Parent – your growth doesn’t stop with being an adult. Now you can reproduce. In Paul’s adulthood, he became a “father” to many new children of God [1 Cor 4:15-16]. For example, Onesimus was his spiritual son [Phile 10] and Timothy was his adopted “son in the faith,” [1 Tim 1:2]. He nursed his children [1 Thes 2:7-8] and charged them “as a father doth his children,” [1 Thes 2:11].
Sixth Stage: Senior Saint – this is the stage of the “gray head,” [Prov 21:29; 16:31]. For those who have reached full maturity in the Lord, this is the stage of sound wisdom [Job 32:7-9] and prayer [Lk 2:36-37].
Seventh Stage: Glory – this is the stage when you have finished your course [2 Tim 4:6-8]. You can’t get to this stage in your spiritual maturity unless you set your sights on it when you become an adult [Acts 20:24]. You must always keep the end in sight [Jn 4:34].
Conclusion: if you are going to grow in Christ, you must first be born again. Take care of that today, while it is still fresh on your mind. If you have been born again, don’t stay stuck in childhood. Grow up and mature. If you aren’t growing, find out where you stopped and begin from there to grow to your next stage of maturity.