Did you know that just because a person or a church walks in the gifts of the Spirit, it has no relationship to their maturity? A baby Christian can pray for someone and see them healed. Paul observed that in the Corinthian church as he sought to help them to grow up in Christ.
I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus.
1 Corinthians 1:4
The church in Corinth gave Paul a lot of headaches over the years, but he continued to thank God for them. In spite of their immaturity, Paul saw the working of God’s grace in their fellowship.
For in him you have been enriched in every way — in all your speaking and in all your knowledge – because our testimony about Christ was confirmed in you. Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed.
1 Corinthians 1:5-7
Even though they had many problems, Paul was able to see the obvious working of the Holy Spirit in them. He says that they had been made wealthy in every way – in Christ. This was a wealth of spiritual gifts.
This was a result of Paul’s ministry to them. He spent years teaching them the truths of the kingdom of God. Because of this, they were spiritually wealthy in their Word and in their knowledge. Spiritual gifts were operating in Corinth like nowhere else.
But is that a sign of maturity in a Christian walk? Obviously not. As we’ll see in future posts, the believers at Corinth were spiritual babies.
The problem is that they weren’t immature because of a lack of teaching. Paul made sure of that. They had chosen to live that way.
In the natural, there are people who don’t want to grow up. I experienced this first hand. I graduated from high school in 1975. I went to the first few high school reunions until I realized that I had grown up, but many of my classmates were still trying to be teenagers.
That may be okay in the world, but it’s self-destructive in the body of Christ. There are things that God needs mature men and women to accomplish. But for that to happen, our eyes need to be focused on the eternal.
That’s why Paul is reminding them of their hope in Christ’s return. At that time we’ll face our ultimate performance review.
He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.
1 Corinthians 1:8-9
These are the things that need to be constantly before us if we are to progress in our spiritual maturity. We should all want to be blameless in our walk with God. According to Paul, this will take the strength of the Lord working in us.
We have to constantly be looking at our relationship with Christ. We are not alone in our walk. What I say and do has an effect on the body of Christ around me.
God is faithful to uphold His part of the relationship. But it’s up to me to understand and cultivate my connection to Him. That’s why He’s placed the Holy Spirit within us.
I know that there are those who simply seek the gifts of the Spirit with no desire for growth. My hope is that I can encourage all of us to lay hold of everything that the Lord desires for us.
Question: What’s the next step in your spiritual growth process?
© 2018 Nick Zaccardi