When spiritual maturity and excellence meet

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by Richard Mansel

Most Christians seem to have a vague concept of what it means to mature spiritually. The Lord’s Church needs more teaching on the subject so brethren can have a goal to attain.

When we mature spiritually, we are banishing darkness and filling the holes with light (1 John 1:5). We are being re-trained by God’s Word to think spiritually instead of in a human, fleshly sense.

Walking in Christ requires that we learn a completely new way to live, talk, think and see the world. Paul calls it “transformation,” where we go from a chrysalis to the wing (Romans 12:1-2). We remain on earth, but our home and heart is moved to heaven (Philippians 3:20).

In Philippians, Paul is incarcerated but he is consumed with love, joy and prayer. His unbridled passion for Christ transcends time and place.

He longs for heaven but he is shackled to earth (Philippians 1:21-25). Nevertheless, he will remain busy with the spreading of the gospel (Ephesians 3:20-21).

Paul tells the Philippians that he is praying for them that they will grow in love, knowledge and discernment. By his life, he makes it clear that we can add prayer to that list (Romans 1:9; 1 Corinthians 1:4; Ephesians 1:16; Colossians 1:3; 1 Thessalonians 1:2; 5:17; 2 Timothy 1:3).

Paul’s message is that we are to be maturing spiritually. Paul overcame his imprisonment by relying completely on the tools of faith (Ephesians 6:10-17).

Spiritual excellence is not a concept we hear much about, but it is Biblical (Philippians 1:10). Walking in Christ, we strive to be the best we can by the grace and mercy of God (Ephesians 4:1; 2:8-9). We never settle for weakness and failure again (Ephesians 4:17-19).

Excellence must be applied to everything. We seek excellence in love, joy, knowledge and discernment, as Paul has made clear. Accordingly, we make better spiritual decisions because knowledge and discernment have taught us a better way (cf. Galatians 1:6-9).

Moreover, as we mature spiritually, we must allow excellence to touch our prayers, as well.

  • As we grow in faith and knowledge, have our prayers followed?
  • Do we still pray as a child?
  • Should our prayers not reflect the maturity of our faith?

Maybe we have never given that any thought. My prayer is that we will do so and that in our conversations with God, we will never stop growing. Excellence must have a place in our prayer life, as well.

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