Is faith necessary for maturity and Godliness?
Reader’s Note: The theme for September is “The Maturity of Faith”.
Length: 900 words
Reading Time: 3 minutes
What is Spiritual Maturity?
If you were asked to describe or define spiritual maturity, what would come to your mind?
Some of the most common answers might include the following.
- Being able to face reality.
- Being responsible.
- Not being in bondage to various fears and desires.
- Knowing how to escape temptation and stay free from various idols, lusts, and sins.
- Living life passionately, buoyantly, indomitably, one day at a time.
- Being able to face
diversityadversity with a sense of purpose, tenacity, and hope.
- Maintaining healthy socio-emotional boundaries.
- Being able to control one’s emotions and express one’s feelings appropriately and at the right time.
- Managing anger and conflict appropriately, effectively, and in a timely manner.
- Being able to foster transparent trust through non-judgmental acceptance of others.
- Able to freely and sincerely give of one’s self to others in friendship and love.
- Living a clean, honest life, not giving the enemy any foothold, nor any friend a cause to stumble.
- Being able to adjust to different kinds of environments and handle interactions with basically anyone in a tacit manner.
- Cultivating a spirit of acceptance, generosity, gracefulness, kindness, and forgiveness, and not being consumed by greed, envy, and bitterness.
- For men, making your mission, and not your woman, your priority. For women, making your husband and family, and not your hypergamy nor career ambitions, your priority.
- For women, honoring, respecting, and obeying her husband. For men, loving and being patient with his wife.
Readers may add others.
How does Maturity compare to Godliness?
Readers may have noticed that this list of traits is very similar to the descriptors of Godliness given in a previous post, How is Godliness Attractive? (2021-09-01), and which are listed below. This is no coincidence, because Godliness is the equivalent of an advanced state of Spiritual Maturity. (Or is it?)
- Having a thankful attitude.
- Faith that is shown by trust and confidence.
- Having a sufficient amount of self-discipline.
- Able to draw proper boundaries in their relationships with others.
- A degree of wisdom characterized by the discernment of good and evil.
- Emotional and spiritual maturity; consideration for others desires and needs.
- Having good, wholesome habits; cleanliness, regular exercise, proper diet, etc.
- A healthy self-respect; acting appropriately and in congruence with the social context.
- Manifesting fruits of the spirit; peace, patience, kindness, goodness, self-control, and so forth.
- For men, focusing on their work, their mission. For women, cultivating a spirit of kindness, humility, and grace.
- I will presume that men who are more masculine and women who are more feminine are more godly.
- Knowing one’s self; values, personality, personal desires, personal weaknesses, what is needed for one’s spiritual growth…
- A healthy ego characterized by a combination of an appropriate self-esteem and humility; not too arrogant, but not supercilious nor obsequious either.
Since we know it is quite possible for a person to be mature but not Godly, there must be some points of difference between the two. I will suggest that the characteristics that set a Godly person apart from a mature person have to do with Moral Agency, Perseverance, Discernment, Wisdom, and Aptitude. Descriptions follow.
- Moral Agency – A person must have a clear sense of purpose for living, be doing something that he feels called by God to do, and have a cohesive vision for his life. In this sense, a person becomes an agent on a mission for God, and thereby possesses the capacity for moral agency.
- Perseverance – Maintaining a strong determination to forge your own character and identity in the crucible of life and overcome the challenges of life, rather than allowing one’s feelings and circumstances to shape one’s identity, purpose, and sense of self-worth. Exercising this discipline faithfully is what denotes one’s success in being a moral agent.
- Discernment – Having an intuitive sense about what is right and wrong, especially concerning what would be conducive towards one’s mission, and what fits one’s interests as an agent on an individual mission.
- Wisdom – Being aware of when adhering to one’s personal principles bring justice and discipline, and when making exceptions to those principles yields grace and truth.
- Aptitude – Having the necessary strength of character, station in life, and the relevant skills and abilities necessary to exercise said moral agency and execute one’s purpose for living.
Since Agency must be determined by one’s faith, this distinction adds a list of characteristics specific to maturity and Godliness.
- The truth of God’s Word is embraced and applied to all areas of one’s life.
- Living one’s life by trusting the Lord in all areas of one’s life. One clings to the Life in God, and not to one’s expectations, money, personal rights, power, pride (ego fulfillment), principles, rules, standards, etc.
- Having a vibrant prayer life.
- Being able to discern good and evil, and truth from falsehood, and not becoming lost in the vanity of one’s mind.
- Able to exercise faith and wisdom.
- Able to bear good fruit.
Ultimately, the fruit is the true litmus test of character.
- Is there really any difference between Spiritual Maturity and Godliness?
- How is faith necessary for Maturity and/or Godliness?
If we think about this further, I believe we may find that we are confused about some of our concepts of Godliness, Maturity, and Agency.