This past Sunday I preached on Hebrews 5:11-6:20 in our Hebrews: the Supremacy of Christ series. This passage is one of the most controversial theological passages in the New Testament. The interpretive challenge centers around a possible loss of salvation. But after studying it, praying through it, and preaching it, I think the heart of the passage points to growing in our life with Jesus move than losing our life with Jesus. It’s an exhortation and encouragement to keep growing in our life with Jesus as we move from spiritual immaturity to spiritual maturity.
Spiritual Immaturity is marked by Impatient Pragmatism & Shallow Faith. The American Church is rife with these two characteristics. Impatient pragmatism says, “If following Jesus doesn’t bring immediate results for me right now, I’m done with it.” The spiritually immature tend to treat Jesus like a personal servant rather than the Lord of the Universe. Here’s the way Michael Horton explains it in Christless Christianity:
[In the American Church] everything is measured by our happiness rather than by God’s holiness, the sense of our being sinners becomes secondary, if not offensive. If we are good people who have lost our way but with the proper instruction and motivation can become a better person, we need only a life coach, not a redeemer. Aside from the packaging, there is nothing that cannot be found in most churches today that could not be satisfied by any number of secular programs and self-help groups. My concern is that we are getting dangerously close to the place in everyday American church life where the Bible is mined for “relevant” quotes but is largely irrelevant on its own terms. God is used as a personal resource rather than known, worshiped, and trusted. Jesus is a coach with a good game plan for our victory rather than a Savior who has already achieved it for us. Salvation is more a matter of having our best life now than being saved from God’s judgment by god himself. And the Holy Spirit is an electrical outlet we can plug into for the power we need to be all that we can be. (compilation of quotes from pp. 15-19)
When life gets hectic and the world gets hostile, the spiritually immature tend to wither because of a shallow faith. We have a tendency to dumb down the Christian faith, not wanting to talk about the more difficult, complex, and mysterious things of God and faith because they are difficult. And we like it easy. But the problem is, when life gets tough, easy doesn’t cut it. Easy doesn’t last. Easy and shallow faith wilts and withers. This is the profile of the spiritually immature.
Spiritual Maturity is marked by Patient Perseverance & Deep Faith. Those who are spiritually mature persevere whatever comes their way with patience. Here’s why: their deep faith has nurtured them and matured them to understand and know more deeply the character and nature of God. People who are spiritually mature have a resiliency and a resolve in their life with Jesus because they believe in the gospel and promises of God. They want to understand more and more deeply who Jesus fully is and what He has done on their behalf. They want to mine the depths of God’s Word. And in that process of going and growing deep with Jesus, they develop deep roots that keep them from wilting and withering when the storms and droughts invariably come along. This is the profile of the spiritually mature.
Where are you on the spiritual continuum of immaturity to maturity? Where are those areas of your life where you seem stuck, unwilling to move forward? How can you see Jesus Christ for who He fully is, the crucified and risen Lord, and grow in your depth, love, and worship for what He has fully done on your behalf? Keep going and keep growing in your life with Jesus as you move from spiritual immaturity to spiritual maturity.