Sunday, January 11, 2009

Suggestions For Growth At Each Maturity Level

Two blogs back I wrote "How Mature Are You?" and promised to provide suggestions for growth at each level. Here are my suggestions for growth:

Spiritual Child ("I speak to you children because your sins are forgiven ... because you know the Father"):
  • Focus on the beauty of grace that your sins have been forgiven.

  • Get to know the fatherhood of God. I suggest the books: "Abba's Child" and "The God You Can Know."

  • The more you can learn about the character of God, the more solid your foundation is very a solid Christian life. I view the character of God as the foundation of the house for a balanced Christian life. I suggest "Knowing God" by J.I. Packer.

  • Begin to spend daily time in God's Word and prayer. Start with a book like the Gospel of John or the epistle of 1 John. Read a paragraph of two, stop to meditate on what you just read, and then pray the ACTS of prayer (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication).

  • Learn who you are in Christ through a book like "Victory Over the Darkness" by Neil Anderson. Use the "Who I Am" sheet provided in that book.

  • Begin to meet in some kind of small group or accountability relationship for encouragement.

  • Enjoy the awesome privilege of a personal relationship with your creator God.

Young Man ("I write to you, young men, because you are strong, the Word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one"):

  • Begin to exercise some of the spiritual disciplines such as consistent time alone with God, fasting, prayer, scripture memory, extended time with God, transparency in accountability relationships, rest, etc.

  • Begin to have some kind of ministry or service in your areas of giftedness and passion. You must have outflow to be healthy.

  • Seek to go into the meat of the Word through a tool like "Systematic Theology" by Dr. Wayne Grudem. Find someone with whom you can read and discuss a chapter every week from this book.

  • With the help of a trusted friend or pastor, seek to resolve any past issues that might be holding you bakc. For many these include, but are not limited to, such issues as: poor relationship with father or other authority figures, childhood abuse or neglect, performance orientation to life, poor self-image, spiritual abuse, sexual abuse, bitterness and unforgiveness toward those who have hurt you, inability to receive love, etc.

  • Biblical study the issue of spiritual warfare and how to overcome Satan through the victory of Christ and your authority in Him. I suggest "Victory Over the Darkness" and "The Bondage Breaker" by Neil Anderson.

  • Continue to build on items established in the childhood stage such as daily time with God, identity in Christ, character of God. and fellowship.

  • Expect big time opposition, temptation, and spiritual warfare and be ready to fight the fight of faith so as not to fall.

  • If you fall, get right back up in the power of the Holy Spirit.

  • Learn how to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

Father ("I write to you fathers because you know Him who has been from the beginning"):

  • Continue in all the areas listed above, especially time with God, filling of the Spirit, fellowship with others, ministry to others, knowing the nature of God, and holy living.

  • Go deep into the character of God, especially developing a conviction about His sovereignty (that He is in total control and worthy of trust no matter what happens to us!). I suggest such books as "When God Doesn't Make Sense" and "Disappointment With God" as well as the section in "Systematic Theology" by Dr. Wayne Grudem dealing with the nature of God.

  • Be in a very transparent small group or accountability relationship.

  • Make a rock solid conviction to not compromise morally and sexually. Sexual sin is certain to ruin your testimony.

  • Be involved in evangelism and discipleship. Remember, you are not a spiritual father until you have children (i.e. led someone to Christ) and involved in active parenting (i.e. discipling someone).

  • Expect to go through the "dark night of the soul" and cling tightly to God until He brings you out of this severe trial. I suggest "Pain, Perplexity and Promotion" by Bob Sorge.

  • Analyze your motives so that you are living for God for His glory and not for self promotion.

  • Be sure you are living out of grace and not performance. Be content to just rest in the Lord and abide in Him.

I'm sure you can suggest other ways to grow at each level, and if so, please email me at I will continue to add to this blog as good suggestions come my way. What a privilege to know and grow in the Lord. Let's seek to become as mature and fruitful as God would will for us to be!