What are five signs that you are growing and maturing as a Christian?
A Contentment in Christ
There is such a sufficiency in knowing Christ. Everything might be falling apart around us, but if our focus remains on Christ, we have all we need. Besides, Jesus promised that if we seek the kingdom first, He will supply all of our needs (Matthew 6:33), but that means seeking the King of that kingdom first and foremost. Paul said, “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need” (Philippians 4:11-12), and “if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content” (1 Timothy 6:8). God told Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Hunger for the Word
The psalmist puts it so beautifully when he wrote, “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God” (Psalm 42:1). I live in deer country, and you can see the deer often running near dusk, their chests heaving for air as they head for the river to satisfy their thirst. This should be something that Christians have: an internal hunger and thirst for God. Since we can’t see God, as He is Spirit, we must see God in His Word, for there He is. Jesus is called the Word (John 1), and we must abide in Him and in His Word (John 15).
Nothing Offends Them
This is one of the truest signs of a Christian maturing, and it is recorded in Psalm 119:165, which says, “Great peace have they who love your law; nothing shall offend them.” If someone is very easily offended, they may be a new Christian or they may not be Christian at all. I can remember several men being severely treated and disgracefully spoken about in their street evangelism, but they responded with grace. They never acted offended in any way, ever! That’s because they must have loved God’s law, which gave them great enough peace to take no offense over anything. If someone’s that easily offended, they must not love God’s law; therefore, they have no peace and are easily offended over almost anything.
Scriptural Memory Bank
When I started to witness to people, their questions would make me go back to the Bible. After a while, I realized that I needed to start memorizing Scripture. If you’re in the Word of God every day, a result of having a hunger for the Word, then you’ll start memorizing Scripture without even knowing it. I’m sure the Spirit helps us with this, as He brings the Word back to our memory. But a sign of a growing and maturing Christian is that they can start to recall chapter and verse in increasing numbers without having to find a Bible.
When people start saying good things about me, I stop them and ask, “Isn’t the moon beautiful at night?” Of course, they agree that it is. I ask them, “Where does the light come from?” They acknowledge that if comes from the moon. “There you go,” I tell them. “You’re giving credit to the wrong heavenly body.” The sun should get the credit because that’s like telling the moon “oh, what beautiful light you have” when truthfully the moon has no light source of its own. Therefore, the sun deserves all the credit. The point is, we must give glory to God, for we reflect only what the Spirit of God has done in us. Any beauty in our character is fully attributable to God, the source of all good and all light, and He is responsible for any fruits we bear (Galatians 5:22-23). Without Him, we can’t do anything (John 15:5). Without God, we’re like the dark side of the moon. As a matter of fact, it’s all dark but for the sun. It’s the same way with us: But for the Son, we’d still be in darkness.
I hope this encourages and doesn’t discourage you. Every Christian should be growing. The fact is, if a plant stops growing, it dies. So make your election and calling sure (2 Peter 1:10), but just as with plants, every Christian is going to grow at a different rate. We’re all heading into the maturity that will come to completion on the day of Jesus’ return or after our death.