September 16, 2022
The Mark of the Spiritually Mature
1 Corinthians 13:11 NKJV
When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”
Toward the end of 1 Corinthians, Paul begins to outline how a church should behave, both as a body of believers toward the world and as a collective of individuals towards each other. This is where we get the outline of spiritual gifts, the famous illustration of the church being a body, and where we hear the all too familiar passage on love.
Although we might hear the “love passage” in 1 Corinthians 13 quoted at weddings and on social media under valentines day posts, the love Paul is speaking on isn’t exclusively defining romantic love, but the love we have towards each other. He’s outlined how important each member of the body is, he’s boasted the wonderful power of the Holy Spirit and the gifts He makes available to even the most ordinary of believers, and then he talks about love. Why? Because spiritual maturity isn’t shown in how many miracles you have done or prophetic words you have given, maturity isn’t displayed in how elegant you sound speaking in tongues (I’m glad because mine still sounds like gibberish half the time), and maturity isn’t evident in how much influence or visibility you have in the body. Spiritual maturity is evident in how well you love.
1 Corinthians 13:11 (NKJV) says, “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” This is one of those verses that sounds like it came from a firm father figure or coach. I read it this way, “David, you’re a man. Act like it.” This verse is intentionally placed here in the epistle to remind us that the call of a believer isn’t to be seen or influential or important; it’s to love well. Our maturity is marked by our love. When we operate in the gifts of the spirit or desire after more of the Holy Spirit’s power, is it to feel significant and important? Or is it to love our brothers and sisters and neighbors well? When we serve the body, whether you are a hand, ear lobe, or knee pit, are you motivated or discouraged by your perceived lack of visibility or impact? Or are you motivated by love? Spiritual maturity comes when we realize more perfectly that our life and all that we have been given is not to build our kingdom but to love and serve others. The mature believer aims their life at that high call to love.
With that in mind, let’s meditate on 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (NKJV). “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”
Rejoice and be United Always
In our Being Transformed Journals, we are wrapping up Pauls’s second letter to the Corinthian church. We have followed him as he talked about suffering. We even, toward the end, get a glimpse into some personal struggles he had, aka the thorn. So how do you wrap it up? What do you say as you finish your letter that hopefully brings change, conviction, and God back at the center of it all?
Eman Ratliff · NSK Threshold Pastor
Comfort in Affliction
2 Corinthians 1:3-5 ESV
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.”
Joy Barker · NSK Preschool Pastor
A Kingdom Foundation
Pastor Tonderai Bassoppo-Moyo
Executive Teaching & Discipleship Pastor