I am teaching passage by passage through the book of 1 Corinthians on Wednesday nights and would like to invite you to join me and other members for a deep study of Scripture each week at 6:30pm in the Sanctuary.
Paul writes to the Corinthian church to encourage, instruct, admonish, and rebuke them with the Gospel. I recently taught through 1 Corinthians 3:1-9 where he explains to them that their spiritual immaturity is apparent through the testimony of others, divisions in the church, and their worldly behavior. To help each one of us examine our own lives and our church the following are 5 characteristics or marks of spiritual immaturity.
5 Marks of Spiritual Immaturity
1. Pride- Resistance to the authority of God’s Word
Paul was not able to address them in the manner that he wanted, or even the way that they thought they deserved. This was because they were still acting as if they were new Christians, like infant believers. They had not matured due to a resistance to trusting and obeying the Word of God. The Corinthian church sought to live according to the wisdom (philosophy, practices, or customs) of the world instead of the foolishness of faith in Christ.
What about you? Do you humble yourself and follow God’s Word with your life, or do you strive and seek to live in a way that the world endorses or accepts?
2. Jealousy- Attacking others because of their influence, position, belongings, or opportunities.
Jealousy is the result of a greedy or prideful longing for something that belongs to another. Another way to see jealousy is through envy or resentment. This type of struggle can be seen when you are overly concerned with the goings and doings of another person.
The Corinthian church was divided over which personality or leader was the best. The allegiances of the church members had been divided up among human leaders and not Jesus Christ.
Christians are consumed with the goings and doings of Christ, not each other. When a person becomes consumed with what another person is doing it does damage to both people and eventually the church.
Do you focus more on what God is doing than what other people are doing? If you are consumed with another person, why is this? Could it be that you have allowed jealousy to take over your mind, heart, and life?
3. Strife- Sowing disagreement and discord through arguments, false claims, and conflicting opinions.
The natural outflow of immaturity in the church is discord or disunity. The Corinthian church was riddled with conflict that arose from their divisions. Their jealousy and selfish habits led to disagreements, false claims, and conflict over the Gospel itself.
Do you sow unity or discord in your relationships with others and the church? Do you speak truthfully or do you make things up to win arguments or get your way? Do you ignore what God is doing and argue because you want to be at the center of other peoples attention?
4. Wordly or Fleshly living- A lifestyle that is characterized like the world or the culture instead of Christ.
Being saved does not mean that you cannot give into the flesh. The Corinthian church had not matured in their faith, therefore they still lived and acted like the day they came to Christ. Each Christian grows and matures through a process called sanctification. Through the Word and the work of the Holy Spirit God grows and matures each Christian to be more like Jesus. But, if you resist the authority of God’s Word you will not be led by the Spirit.
The Corinthian church lived like more like the world than the Word of God. Not only did they act like unbelievers when they were away from the church, when they gathered as a church they acted like the world together. Paul rebukes them for their actions and calls them to repentance.
Does your life look different than it did the day God saved you? Is there a difference in the way that you live compared to someone who doesn’t have faith in God and believe in Jesus?
5. Idolatry- Idolizing leaders instead of worshipping Christ and glorifying God for what He is doing.
The Corinthians idolized Paul, Apollos, and Cephas. Some even idolized themselves and elevated their focus on Christ above the other factions. In today’s church culture each Christian must guard against idolizing leaders. Each person who preaches and leads the church is just doing the part God called him to play. God is the one who causes spiritual growth. God is the one who changes lives, not preachers or leaders.
That is why Paul said in verse 7, “So neither he who plants, nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.” The focus of the Christian life is Christ, not men.
Do you elevate men who lead well over God who saves? Do you elevate some men who preach with eloquence or creativity over other men who are also faithfully preaching and teaching God’s Word?
One of the largest issues that the church in America faces today is spiritual immaturity. One of the contributing factors to this is a lack of knowing the Bible. To grow and mature in your faith requires reorienting your whole life around who God is and what He reveals to us in His Word. Click here for 5 Steps On The Path To Spiritual Maturity.
May each of us consider our ways, evaluate our maturity and actions, and seek to grow in our faith and support the work of Christ in our lives, our church, and our community.