The author of Hebrews has pushed the pause button in his discussion of the high priesthood in order to give a stern warning to his readers. In effect, he is saying “Stop acting like babies! Grow up.” In verse 1 he admonishes them to “go on to maturity.” So in this brick I want to try to answer this question: What does maturity for a believer look like? In other words, how would we know if we were indeed on the road to maturing in Christ. What I will NOT do is try to solve the theological conundrum that verses 4-8 presents. I will simply say this about those verses… The author is not saying that you can lose your salvation. But smarter people than me disagree on what they are saying to this audience of Hebrew Christians. Suffice to say that the author strongly encourages his readers to pursue spiritual growth and maturity or else they will deal with the consequences of this not happening. So…
What does spiritual maturity look like in the life of a believer? Here are 6 marks of a maturing believer that I think are a good place to start in helping us evaluate if we are on the road to maturity.
1) A maturing believer ABIDES DILIGENTLY – The word abide is one of the great words in the Bible and John 15 is a great place learn more about abiding. Abiding diligently simply means that believers are looking continuously to the Lord for the nourishment they need to fuel their soul. The are readers and ponderers of the Word. They find their identity rooted in the love of God for them. They receive their strength and power from the Holy Spirit dwelling inside them.
2) A maturing believer WORSHIPS WHOLEHEARTEDLY – They do this personally and they do this in community. Personally, they worship the Father on a daily basis as they praise Him and thank. They are aware that the god of this world is trying to divide their heart by offering things of this world as places where they can find their satisfaction. In community, they gather with other believers to exalt the Father and exult in His Son by the power of the Spirit. They don’t just go through the motions of a worship service but join corporately in the adoration of God.
3) A maturing believer SERVES JOYFULLY – They recognize that they are a part of the body of Christ and that for the body to be healthy every part of the body must do what it was created to do. They are looking for ways to serve in their local church as well as looking for ways to serve the capital C Church. And they do this not out of duty or obligation but with gladness because their desire is to see the church fulfill it’s mandate to make disciples of all nations.
4) A maturing believer LOVES GENEROUSLY – Jesus said that the greatest commandment is to “love the Lord with ALL your heart, soul, mind, and strength” and then to “love your neighbor as yourself.” Love God. Love people. A maturing believer is constantly fighting the innate selfishness that we all deal with and is looking for ways to demonstrate generous love by offering their time, talent, and money in service to God.
5) A maturing believer PRAYS BOLDLY – We know that we have an all access pass to the throne room of God and that we can ask God anything. But most believers never get past voicing childish prayers. They never get to the point where they are asking God to do “more than we can ask or imagine.” They never express prayers that are rooted in faith and ask God to do what only He can do. Maturing believers are learning to pray audacious prayers – prayers that are characterized by a deep rooted confidence in a Father’s generous love for His children.
6) A maturing believer GOES INTENTIONALLY – Our story has been radically changed by the gospel and it has brought about life transformation. Our story is now forever connected to God’s story and it is a story that the world needs to hear. Maturing believers take the Great Commission personally: “Go into all the world and make disciples….” They make the Great Commission their mission. They are on the lookout for opportunities to tell others about the goodness and greatness of God and to invite them to discover how their story can also connect to God’s story.
May this brick help you to discern whether you are on the road to maturity or whether you are still acting like a baby. Read again verses 4-8 for some stern encouragement to earnestly pursue spiritual growth.