Today I watch spent leaves fall and flit away on the breeze. No longer anchored to their respective trees, they whirl wistfully below a steel blue sky threatening to pour out its soggy contents. Eventually they land. Chances are, however, they haven’t found their final resting places yet. Unless their footing is firm, they’ll tumble along with passing winds until a strong rain pins them down.
As I walk along, enjoying the leaf shower, God brings Ephesians 4:14-15 to mind. Paul is explaining that Christ equips His followers so we corporately bring glory to God and spur one another on to maturity when we exercise our spiritual gifts. Then he says, “As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ”
Maturing spiritually is much like maturing physically. It doesn’t happen overnight. You can’t anticipate when it will happen. You never know what will trigger it. It comes in spurts. Sometimes it’s painful. And if we aren’t careful, our growth can be stunted.
That’s why God never intended for us to make our spiritual journey in a vacuum. He gives us his written word to speak to us and remind us of His truths. He gives us the Holy Spirit to convict and direct us. And He gives us each other– for more than just companionship. Throughout the New Testament, we’re told to love one another, encourage one another, serve one another, be kind to one another, and rebuke one another (“speaking the truth in love”).
When we neglect God’s Word, ignore the Holy Spirit’s promptings and isolate ourselves from other believers, we lose our anchor. We have no set bearings. We’re like fall leaves riding the wind wherever it takes us and rolling restlessly along until something pins us down. We’re vulnerable to false doctrines, susceptible to Satan’s lies, and in danger of being spiritually stunted.
Unlike maturing physically, maturing spiritually is a lifelong venture. It begins when you are born into Christ’s family, at the moment you confess you’ve sinned against God and find forgiveness and peace through Christ’s shed blood. It ends when you take your final breath – still imperfect, still broken, still in need of a Savior. But if you ramble the rocky road toward heaven without being side-tracked, you will be more like Christ at road’s end than when you began. And you will then stand before your Lord, complete in Christ!
To read more on the topic of spiritual journeys, click this link: