Growth is Painful but Maturity Matters

This week Rep. Ayanna Pressley proposed a law that would lower the voting age from 18 to 16. Based upon her statements, she is unconcerned about the maturity—or lack thereof—of 16-year-olds in America. I would say that this representative has a lot in common with many Christians who are unconcerned about their own spiritual maturity.

Spiritual maturity isn’t just referring to how long we have known the Lord. It’s an indicator of how much we have grown since we were “born” into the Christian faith. In Hebrews 5:12-14, members of the early church were scolded for their lack of growth.  

“You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. Solid food is for those who are mature…”

It’s convicting. When we are born into the physical world, if we are healthy, we don’t have to think about growing. It just happens. Ready or not, we learn to roll over, sit up, crawl and walk. Eventually, hopefully, we even learn to “adult.” Growth in the spiritual sense isn’t quite as easy.

I think I’m experiencing growing pains right now.

Last night, something happened that tested my faith. I found myself hearing my own words echoing in my head.

“Do I still trust God?” I said to the crowd of women just a few weeks ago. “Yes, I trust God because even though He allowed my son to die, He sent His son to die for me.” I said that, and I mean it.

But can I do it? Do I really trust Him?

Last night, when put to the test, I heard God saying, “Trust me.” And I answered, “Why? Why should I trust you? I trusted you with Brandon, and he’s gone.”

I wish I could say that it wasn’t true. I wish I didn’t think that. I wish I didn’t feel that. But I did. I do.

It’s a sign of how much more I need to grow. Maturity doesn’t happen overnight.  

Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.”

It’s been one of my favorite verses all of my Christian life. And, yet, here I am, forty-three years from the time I committed my life to Christ. And I am still trying to put it into practice.

So, I get it.

Growing spiritually requires work. It requires being intentional. It requires consciousness. It’s hard, and sometimes it’s even painful. And we can’t do it on our own. We have to rely on the Holy Spirit’s presence and power to help us.

But let’s not make the same mistake as Rep. Pressley. She may not question the maturity of our youth, but we should definitely question our own.

If we aren’t growing, then we’re stagnant. And stagnation leads to degeneration. Let’s not stay infants. We can’t let those spiritual muscles atrophy. Even when it hurts, let’s seek to grow in Christ because maturity matters.

PS If you’re not already, sign up to receive my weekly email devotional. This month, we are reading through the book of Colossians and learning what it has to say about growing in Christ.