What Is A Mature Christian?
Rodney W. Francis
Have you ever stopped to consider what makes a Christian a mature Christian? It is something we should all be pursuing in our lives ~ to become mature believers in Jesus Christ. One verse of Scripture that sums it up well is: “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God” (Romans 8:14). It is an easy verse to quote, but how real is it in your life . . . in my life? In Scripture, a “son of God” is a mature son, one who has grown up and brings pleasure to his Father. Jesus taught us of the importance of receiving the Holy Spirit, the receiving of power, spiritual unction and an ability to connect with the voice of God through the Holy Spirit. He has been sent to “teach us all things, and bring to our remembrance all things that Jesus has spoken to us” (John 14:26).
• Without the Holy Spirit actively at work in and through our lives there is no way that we can ever come to a full maturity as a son of the Living God.
The Holy Spirit of Truth has come to “testify of Jesus” (John 15:26) and “to lead and guide us into all truth” (John 16:13-14). Why? Because without Him we miss the mark! “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9NKJV).
Because the ways of God are so different to that of human natural thoughts and logical thinking, etc. we have to learn a whole new way of living ~ in word and in deed. This is why the Prophetic Ministry is so important to be functioning in and through our lives, individually.
• The Prophetic Ministry is all based on hearing the voice of God with a love and commitment to do whatever He asks of us.
Whatever He, the Spirit of Truth, asks of us, we can do ~ even if we have never done it before. That is how we come to be a mature believer in Jesus Christ: we learn to listen to Him more than our own natural, logical reasoning (and of others), because we have become convinced that whatever He says to us is more true than anything we can think up. The more we can “let go” of our own way of doing things and learn the new, creative ways of the Holy Spirit, the more effective and fruitful we become as Christian believers. A Christian who is not a mature believer is still living in a “hit and miss” state, whereby we get it right sometimes, and other times we get it wrong. God’s heart and desire for us is that we will come to a place where we so love, know and trust the voice of God that He (God) is free to speak to us any way He wants to, and we will still know it is Him.
• So much so that we want to obey Him every time He speaks to us. That is true love and commitment to Jesus Christ.
Remember a disciple of Jesus is one who follows both the Teacher and His teachings. Far too often we limit God by thinking He only speaks in the Bible, or only through Christian Leaders, etc. If you know your Bible you will know that there are more than 40 ways by which God spoke in the Scriptures alone. Flowing in Prophetic Ministry has also helped me tremendously to know the voice of God, for we do not step out in the exercising of a Spiritual Gift (1 Corinthians 12) without first recognizing that God is desiring us to say or do something.
At different times I have had Christians who have been established in churches (some Pentecostal) for 40 years tell me that they have never heard the voice of God personally. This is tragic, as it means they have not grasped what New Testament Christianity is all about. They are missing out on what the Holy Spirit was sent to us for, so that we could be first-hand witnesses of the Living Jesus Christ, Who speaks today! Attending church services is no guarantee of our gaining Christian maturity.
• True Christian maturity is a total commitment to whatever Jesus says, accompanied by a willingness and obedience to doing His will.
THE EXAMPLE OF ANANIAS (Acts 9)
In Acts 9 we have the record of a little-known disciple by the name of Ananias. He was not a recognized leader of the day, but in God’s eyes he was a mature believer. For when God asked him to go and do something that naturally he did not want to do, the Lord so knew that Ananias would obey that He could safely give Saul of Tarsus his name and tell him that Ananias was coming to pray for him to receive his sight and to be filled with the Holy Spirit. This is a wonderful illustration of someone who had come to trust the voice of the Lord more than his own thinking, natural knowledge, etc. and was prepared to trust and obey Jesus no matter what. If Ananias was one who only obeyed the voice of God sometimes, then God could not have given Saul his name beforehand. But he had proven to God that he would obey whatever God asked of him. He was a mature believer.
• A mature believer is not about how long one has been a Christian, but whether or not we are obedient to “the heavenly vision and voice of God” (Acts 26:13-19).
I don’t know about you, but this illustration is a real challenge to me, and should be to all Christians.
• Can God so trust your obedience to do whatever He asks of you, that He can safely give other people your name and tell them you are coming with a message from God?
PHILIP DEMONSTRATED HIS MATURITY (Acts 8)
In Acts 8 we read of Philip going to Samaria and preaching Christ to the people. The result was a city-wide revival and move of the Holy Spirit with signs, wonders and miracles. Multitudes were impacted by the power of God through Philip. How amazing that right at the height of that visitation of God, the Lord spoke to Philip and told him to walk away from the revival and head out into the desert. You could imagine that every person that Philip would have mentioned what God said to him to do, would have done their best to talk Philip out of leaving Samaria. I mean, he was the central and leading person in a city-wide revival where the supernatural happenings of God were taking place. But Philip demonstrated by his actions that obedience to the voice of God was top priority. Did you get that?
• Philip demonstrated by his actions that obedience to the voice of God was top priority.
He had learned to “obey God rather than man” (Acts 5:29). Pleasing Jesus was more important than having the praise of men in a city-wide visitation of the Holy Spirit. As a result of Philip’s obedience (in what seemed a very unwise thing to do) Philip obeyed God and headed off into the desert. There he found an important Ethiopian sitting alone in his chariot reading Isaiah 53. The Holy Spirit led Philip to talk to the man. The result was the man gave his heart to Jesus and was baptized in water. That man took the Gospel Message back to Ethiopia and multitudes there were converted to Christianity over the next period of time. So much so that Ethiopia was known as a Christian nation for many generations. Philip’s obedience to God in what seemed an illogical thing to do, was that instead of only experiencing a city-wide visitation of God, he was instrumental in a whole nation turning to God ~ and he was not in Ethiopia to witness any of it! How amazing and different are the ways of the Lord! Philip demonstrated a maturity that very few others had.
• May the Lord help us all to become much more mature in these days through a greater sensitivity to His voice, and a willingness to obey whatever He asks of us.
Always remember: “He is LORD,” and His ways are higher than our ways and very different to the way we would do things. God bless you.
The above article, “What is a Mature Christian?” was written by Rodney W. Francis. The article was excerpted from “The Gospel Faith Messenger” Ministry. PO Box 57, Paraparaumu 5254, New Zealand. www.gospel.org.nz. November 2017.
The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.
This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”