Growing Mature in Christ
As we think about the process of making disciples at MCC, I want to reiterate what the heart of the disciple making is to the pastors, elders and staff. We believe that disciple making is seeing people become Members of God’s family, growing Mature in Christ, living a life of Ministry and Multiplying Christ’s life in others. I’ve spent a few short moments detailing the overview and the member aspect in previous posts. Today I want to share a little about the specifics of Maturity.
Paul Tripp writes that maturity is, “a vertical thing (love for God) that will have a variety of expressions (love for others).” The goal of maturity is that a believer primarily grow in the understanding and application of loving God and loving others as themselves, following the great commandment of Christ to His disciples (Matthew 22:37-40).
The person concerned with this stage of development in disciple making is the believer. This is the person who has confessed their sins against a Holy God, been born again, and trusted in Christ’s life, death and resurrection for their new identity. They have died to their selves and now live a new life in Christ.
Biblical Principle and Key Passages:
The basic Biblical principle associated with a person growing mature in Christ is that they follow Christ (John 1:43). You read this another way from Paul in Colossians 2:6-7, “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” The person who is growing mature must be sure that the way of life is rooted in the example of Christ and not earthly wisdom or clever philosophies of the day. John, the beloved disciple, writes this another way in 1 John 2:6, “whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” The lifestyle of a follower of Christ is one that is continually growing more like Christ. The follower of Christ walks like Christ walked. This means their lifestyle, habits, desires are the lifestyle, habits and desires that Christ modeled.
Phrases to Say:
When engaging a person that you disciple and are encouraging to grow in their life of following Christ you may ask some of the following questions: “What’s the Bible say about that?”, “How are you involved in community with others?”, “Would you want to study this together?”, “How have you been spending time alone with God lately?” These are some examples of ways to promote the spiritual disciplines in the follower of Christ and find ways in which you can either grow your own walk with Christ, or how you might encourage others you are discipling.
Actions to Take:
When growing in maturity it is important to consider how one might become more like Christ. To find the answer to that each follower of Christ needs to evaluate how Christ lived. An easy way to do that is to be fervent in spiritual disciplines. These could include–but are not limited to–prayer, fasting, bible reading, bible study, meditating on God’s word, memorizing God’s word, celebrating others, getting away for times of solitude and silence before the Lord. The believer growing in maturity can benefit from studies focusing on a deeper understanding of their identity in Christ, how to use the Bible and how to effectively share the gospel with others.
Resources to Utilize:
Bible (Study Bibles such as the ESV Study Bible or the MacArthur Study Bible are great resources)
“Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life” by Donald Whitney
“Christian Beliefs” by Wayne Grudem
This can be the area that many believers of Christ stay in for many years. Fears, insecurities, guilt and shame over past events in one’s life tend to bog a person down here. As a disciple maker, it is vital to regularly encourage those you are pouring your life into in order to see maturity in Christ-likeness happen. As a person being discipled it remains important for you to seek out Godly counsel when you falter, as we all do, ideally from the person discipling you. Then we must continually abide in Christ, finding our rest and identity in Him alone.