Read Colossians 1:3-6
When did you feel “grown up”? Was it when you could walk across the street by yourself? Maybe it was when you were not forced to take a nap? Maybe it was when you were taller than your mom or dad? Or maybe it was when you got your driver’s license? Or went to college? Or got married? These are all mileposts on the road to adulthood. Some, however, reach those points and still don’t feel “grown up.” Some even raise children, and go on to become grandparents, while continuing to feel not-quite-mature.
When is the point at which a boy becomes a man? When does a girl become a woman? When is a “kid” no longer a kid but an adult? Biologically speaking, that question is a fairly easy one to answer. An organism is considered an “adult” when it is able to reproduce. From flowers and trees to birds and bees, this is true of all living things. And it is also true when it comes to spiritual growth.
Too often, followers of Jesus believe that worshiping regularly with other believers demonstrates maturity. Of course, that’s an important ingredient for growth. But it is not the mark of maturity.
Others see themselves as mature because they consistently read and study their Bibles. They memorize verses and meet with others to study together. That, too, is an important factor in spiritual growth. But it is not the mark of maturity.
Some think they have reached spiritual maturity when they are able to fill a valuable role of service to the church. Others feel they have reached spiritual maturity because they have been a Christian longer than anyone they know. Some feel they’ve arrived when the pastor asks them for advice. But none of these is the mark of spiritual maturity.
Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit” (John 15:5). Later in that same talk with His disciples, He said, “I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last” (John 15:16). Like branches on a grapevine or another fruit-bearing plant, we have been chosen and appointed—watered, fed, and tended—to bear fruit, to reproduce, to play a part in repeating over and over again the process that produced our salvation. That is the mark of maturity. That is how we know that the Holy Spirit’s work and our cooperation have combined in us to produce a full-grown follower of Jesus.
In fact, it is not going too far to say that we were born to reproduce. That’s right. Every step we have taken, every little bit we have grown, has been largely for the purpose of reproducing. You are fulfilling the Father’s plans for you only if you are bearing fruit and reproducing. What area of you life needs the Spirit’s influence?