We have talked a lot on this blog about spiritual maturity. While some get offended at being called spiritually immature, it is a reality in scripture. My question to you is: how do you define spiritual maturity?
A pastor recently told me that he believes upwards of 70% of the contemporary church are spiritually immature/carnal. Do you agree? Is this why the church seems to be so ineffectual? Is this one of the reasons the pimps and false prophets are basking in the spotlight while true teachers get ignored?
The most obvious case in scripture is found in 1 Corinthians 3:1-3 where Paul rebuked the Corinthian saints.
And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
The broader question is who is primarily responsibility for one’s spiritual growth?
The Barna Research Group’s recent survey on spiritual maturity revealed something we perhaps already knew and have seen more than often on this blog. The majority of Christians today are spiritually shallow. Charisma reports:
81 percent believe spiritual maturity correlates to “trying hard to follow the rules described in the Bible,” and even among born-again Christians (a small subset of the entire group polled), only 30 percent mentioned having a relationship with Jesus as one of the characteristics of spiritual maturity. Other elements included living a moral lifestyle (14 percent), applying the Bible (12 percent) and sharing your faith with others (6 percent).
Among pastors surveyed, nearly 90 percent said a lack of spiritual maturity was one of the nation’s biggest problems-yet a minority of them stated that this wasn’t the case in their own church. When asked to identify the most important portions of the Bible that define spiritual maturity, more than three-fourths gave a generic response: one-third simply answered “the whole Bible,” 17 percent said “the gospels,” 15 percent said “the New Testament,” and 10 percent offered “Paul’s letters” as their source of definition. Just one-fifth of pastors cited specific Bible verses that speak of a mature believer.
So how do we tackle this problem? Your comments are greatly desired.