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Introducing The Nine Signs of Spiritual Maturity
As we discovered last week, being an apprentice, or disciple, to The Way of Jesus is about learning as we go. But while the bible is filled with helpful examples and instructions to follow, we can sometimes miss the point. If we’re not paying attention, we can end up walking the ‘right’ path alone and miss the new life that comes from walking with Jesus. That new life is a personal and dynamic relationship with the living God and it is what transforms into spiritually mature Christians.
We have identified nine characteristics that define a transformed and mature follower of Christ. We hope to use these characteristics, or signs, as mile markers to help us pay attention to the path we’re on. It is important to note that these are all broad simplifications. They’re not meant to be a pass/fail test, but a gauge we check regularly and to know when and where to adjust as we go. Each week we will explore one of these nine signs in depth using a variety of exercises and spiritual disciplines designed to help you evaluate where you’re at and how you can continue growing towards maturity in Christ.
This Week’s Focus: A Mature Disciple Loves Jesus
The Way of Jesus is the way of love. As followers of Jesus, we first experience love from Christ that leads us to a love for Christ. This continues as we grow – His grace for our sins leads us to pursue holiness, His joy in our hardship strengthens us to bear the burdens of others, His guidance our uncertainty teaches us how to make disciples. He leads out of love, so we can follow out of love.
So the first sign that we are walking in The Way of Jesus is that we genuinely love God. And while we may express our adoration in different ways, we can use Jesus’ example to assess the maturity of our love. We know we’re growing in this area when we are consistently trusting Him as our personal Savior and the Leader of our life. A mature disciple depends entirely on God for their life, love, identity, and purpose. In this practice you will find tools to help you grow in your capacity to love Jesus authentically.
Quick Tip: Find What Works
Looking at a packet like this can feel daunting; it’s easy to feel like you’re “falling short” when the to-do list is so long. A great way to combat this is to experiment with different ways to do them. Likely, you’ll find these practices are a lot easier to do when you tweak them to fit your life and the way your mind works. Try doing them at different places or times of day. Or just bring it with you everywhere and dive in when you have a minute. Try doing it all in one sitting or limiting yourself to 10 min every day. Try writing everything down or nothing down. Whatever you decide, just give it a shot.
There will always be moments where we need to push beyond what we feel like doing in order to be obedient to God, but a majority of life with Jesus is meant to be life-giving. So give yourself permission to find what fills you up with the deeply satisfying presence of the living God.
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