Memory Verse: "Let your patience show itself perfectly in what you do. Then you will be perfect and complete and you will have everything you need." (Jms.1:4, NLT)
Scripture Reading: Rm.12:9-21.
Growth is painful because we're stretched with every inch of growth and spiritual maturity is no different. Every spiritual exercise that culminates in at least a leap in our spiritual growth stretches us. However, there's an aspect of our lives that's usually not considered in our bid to mature spiritually and as a result of downplaying this vital aspect, our efforts to grow spiritually appear futile.
The aspect often less considered is our emotions.
It is impossible to be spiritually mature while remaining emotionally immature.
The impact of emotional maturity on our spiritual lives is of utmost importance, because the control of our emotions (feelings and impulses) directly affect our spiritual maturity.
I have discovered there is a difference between emotional and spiritual maturity. Yet, we cannot have one without the other. While emotional maturity is reflected in the quality of our relationship with people, spiritual maturity is reflected in the quality of our walk with God. They are inseparable.
We're reminded in God's word that a relationship with God and people are equally very important (see Matt.22:37-38). Hence the need to grow both ways.
Emotional maturity is development from self-centeredness" to "outgoing concern for others." Satan takes-God gives. Satan hates-God loves. There we see the essence of the difference between maturity and immaturity.
As I research and pray deeply about this topic of maturity (as this is one aspect in my life the Lord is pointing at), I'm learning it is essential we allow God to change us. When we make the decision to let God mold us into His character, we will be rewarded with eternal joy, love, peace and wisdom. Above all, we will be able to enjoy a more intimate relationship with our Creator and healthier, meaningful relationship with others.
As we take the journey towards emotional and spiritual maturity, understanding the difference between having a child-like faith and using childish behaviour is very important, too. We are not to act childishly and immature, but we are in need of a child-like attitude to approach God. Our Creator desires this attitude from us so we can obey Him (like we were told in yesterday's devotional). However, selfish, immature behaviour causes pain in relationships and does not reflect the image of Christ.
Three things we must know as today's devotional message comes to a close:
- Emotional growth (just as spiritual growth) is a choice.
- It doesn't happen by default (unlike physical growth).
- Emotional growth (like spiritual growth) occurs only when we choose to grow. If we do not make that choice and stick to it, there will be no emotional growth, likewise spiritual growth.
Let's make this choice.
Also, worthy of mention is that, "There are no shortcuts to spiritual and emotional maturity." We can trust God to take us through the paths that lead to both emotional and spiritual maturity. As we do, we will see ourselves grow and develop into emotionally and spiritually mature individuals and we would love ourselves for it.
Ponder Point: The journey to maturity begins with recognising that it's not like you're going to try to fix yourself and become a different person. You remain the same person, only that you become awakened.
Action Point: Commit to growing emotionally and spiritually.
Prayer Point: Father, hold my hand and walk with me through the paths that lead to emotional and spiritual maturity in Jesus name, Amen.