7 Sure Signs You’re Actually Maturing in Your Faith
- Deborah Nayrocker, M.Ed. Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2020 2 Dec
Are you turning your faith into action? As we grow in the knowledge of God’s ways, we build on the groundwork of our basic faith. This is the foundation from which we move on to a life of victory. As a disciple of Jesus, apostle Peter learned first-hand how to mature in his faith. In his letters to the believers, he encouraged them to continue to build upon the faith they were given. In 2 Peter 1:5-8, Peter lists seven signs of a maturing Christian. These vital qualities build upon each other to change and perfect. He says we are to make every effort to add them to our faith.
These Christian virtues that build upon each other are goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love. These are sure signs we’re maturing and growing in our faith. These marks of a Christian deal with the heart, attitudes, and motives.
You’re Maturing in Your Faith When You Show Goodness
Goodness is similar to moral excellence. When we decide to follow Jesus, we turn from a fallen world that corrupts. We have genuinely repented of our sinful ways.
We learn to guard against sin and complacency. We learn to walk the way that God says is holy.
True holiness has to do with our relationship with a holy God. We seek to do what is right and good.
As believers we are to “hate what is evil; cling to what is good” (Romans 12:9). We are changed. Since we are transformed, we also have a renewed mind. Standing firm in our faith, we think on the things that are morally excellent. “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things” (Philippians 4:8).
You’re Maturing in Your Faith When You Show Knowledge and Wisdom
We all want knowledge and wisdom. The good news is we can have this when we abide in Him.
When we are redeemed, God opens our eyes to understanding. The Word comes alive in our hearts and minds. The Bible comes alive and we learn new truths and gain new insights.
Apostle Paul heard about the faith of the believers in Ephesus. This pleased him. But he wanted them to have something more. He told them he prayed often that they would receive more wisdom and understanding. He prayed they would be more discerning as they grew to know God personally. Mature Christians have their senses trained to discern good and evil (Hebrews 5:14).
Read the Bible daily. His Word is deep, and it’s rich in truths and wisdom. His Word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. We are more prepared for what life brings us as we gain more knowledge and wisdom. If we are lacking in this area, we’re told to ask God for His wisdom and revelation (Ephesians 1:17).
You’re Maturing in Your Faith When You Show Self-control
Apostle Paul emphasized the importance of having discipline in the Christian life (1 Corinthians 9:25-27). He said we are to run the race as an athlete, with the goal of finishing the race as a winner. We don’t go on aimlessly.
Some say it’s hard to be a diligent Christian. Yet we know we have already been clothed with the righteousness of Christ. All we need to do is to put into practice the things that are easy for us to understand. We have been given a conscience, so let’s use it. Use our God-given conscience and the knowledge and understanding we gain.
We keep a disciplined life. We keep watch over our conduct. We guard our heart. And we are careful about the words we use. If we control our tongue, we can control our life. Those who guard their mouth, guard their soul from troubles (Proverbs 21:23).
We no longer fit in with this world; we are transformed. On our guard and with His grace we will move ahead.
You’re Maturing in Your Faith When You Show Perseverance
After King David sinned in the Bathsheba affair, he prayed for perseverance. “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10). He continued, “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit” (Psalm 51:12). King David said that it was “a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart” that the Lord God delighted in (Psalm 51:17). God has revealed that He is pleased when believers are sensitive to their sin and there is brokenness.
God’s mercy comes through when people own up to their sin. Their personal failings affect themselves and others. Most importantly, their failings affect their relationship with their Heavenly Father. We recognize that we are no longer slaves to sin. Sin no longer has mastery over us when we have been made right with God.
We will pray at all times, keeping alert and staying steadfast in our faith (Ephesians 6:18). We enjoy close fellowship with our Father.
You’re Maturing in Your Faith When You Show Godliness
The power of His presence enables us to live godly lives. We are to be imitators of God and to walk in love as Jesus Christ did (Ephesians 5:1). This involves our minds and our behavior. No longer in darkness, we are now children of light. We display goodness, righteousness, and truth (Ephesians 5:9). Our actions show what is good, what is right, and what is true.
There is no need to stumble around in the dark. The light of His presence makes our path plain to see. We learn what pleases Him and then we live that way. Apostle Paul gave wise counsel to his younger friend Timothy about the virtue of godliness. He said, “Train yourself to be godly … godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come” (1 Timothy 4:7-8).
You’re Maturing in Your Faith When You Show Brotherly Kindness
Brotherly kindness is added to the list of the marks of a believer. It’s not hard to see acts of kindness take place naturally within the family of faith. We show that we genuinely care about other people. We are interested in them.
We take time to share. And we share with others when they are in need, and we do this because we love them. We are to “share with God’s people who are in need and practice hospitality” (Romans 12:13). Those who display brotherly kindness are thoughtful of others. We show care and concern for others; we serve with excellence.
We are unselfish in nature, in our attitudes, and in our actions.
You’re Maturing in Your Faith When You Show Love
Finally, we are to make every effort to add love to our foundational faith. Love “comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith” (1 Timothy 1:5). God has granted his grace to us in many ways. God is love. This love is called agape love. It is self-sacrificial love.
Do we show that we love others in our words and in our deeds? Agape love is described in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. It says, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
The Christian virtues that build upon each other are goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love. Love binds together in unity all of these important signs of maturing faith.
Take an honest inventory on how you’re doing in these seven areas. Then train yourself to grow in these important areas. We are given a promise: “He who began a good work in you will perfect it until He comes” (Philippians 1:6). Just as fruit matures as it grows on the branch, may these seven qualities grow deeper and richer in your life.
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Deborah Nayrocker is the author of Grow in Faith toward Maturity: 31 Days to a Closer Walk with God (Credo House). A practical guide for new and growing Christians, the book has 31 brief chapters for daily devotional use. The book is available in paperback and e-book at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Deborah’s website is www.DeborahNayrocker.com