Q. How would you describe a mature Christian?
Many would describe maturity as sensitive, caring, empathetic and listens to my needs. The truth is these are all feeling measurements. Real Godly maturity is standing on God’s wisdom against demonic forces (Eph.6, 1 John 4:1 … try the spirits).
Most people evaluate others by their emotions; how I feel is the truth; how you make me feel is my reality. If you make me feel bad then you are bad, if you make me feel good then you are good. Good and bad is really based on how you make me feel. These people justify their goodness by their good deeds, but the Bible says you can give all your money to the poor and your body to be burned and it is not necessarily love (1Cor. 13). Few diagnose people and circumstances by their spirit. ‘Pathos’ is the Greek word for ‘feeling’. It forms the root of English words such as empathy, sympathy, and apathy; but it also forms the words pathogen and pathology (the study of diseases). In other words, the same root word for feelings is also the same root word for disease.
In Colossians 3:5, the Word of God refers to concupiscence which means the ‘diseased condition of the soul’. The instruction is to mortify this quality. Emotions originate from our soul. God knows that these emotions are infected with our inherent sin nature. Whenever we automatically evaluate a situation from the viewpoint of our emotions we are diagnosing from the foundation of our sinful nature.
The Bible doesn’t instruct us to have sympathy, or empathy; it instructs us to operate in love ie under the influence of the Spirit of God. People think that love is sympathy, compassion and empathy but these are all contaminated feeling words. You can have these feelings towards others for your own selfish value, and not draw them from God’s heart at all.
Agape Love (the love of God) is not a feeling, it’s death to self-wants so that in effect, Jesus is operating through us. God’s feelings flow after death, not before it. Love isn’t separate from feelings, but love isn’t our feelings; love is a choice to trust God in preference to our feelings.
Mature Christians diagnose via their spirit, by over-riding their feelings. They have learnt that their feelings are manipulated by satanic inherent traits of selfishness, and are thus unreliable for God diagnosis. They don’t ignore their feelings, but rather use this 6th sense as a tool to enquire of God what He is making them aware of through their feelings.
Fear is a strong and powerful feeling. Everyone reacts to fear in their own learned way; but the Bible says that there is no fear in love (1John 4:18). A Christian is not exempt from fear, but neither should he automatically react to it. Love turns to God for His diagnosis of why a spirit of fear is against me … “what are you trying to show me, Lord?” is maturity; reacting to the fear is immaturity. Never act on FEAR! Only act on Faith!
Your level of spiritual maturity can be measured by your method of diagnosis. An immature person measures people on the basis of whether they’re nice to them or not. If you treat me nice then you must be good, and if you’re not nice to me, you’re bad. It measures everything by how I feel from your behaviour towards me. In other words, the other person is responsible for how I feel; it’s their fault if I feel bad. This is the pattern of blame initiated in the Garden of Eden. This measurement is purely based on emotions. It’s actually emotional selfishness. It lives for good feelings and practices niceness to defend its self-value and attract nice feelings to itself. This person can never be saved till they stop the blame and take full responsibility for their camouflaged selfishness.
You won’t find this philosophy of ‘niceness’ in the Word of God. The Bible talks about being hated for the kingdom of heaven, not having nice feelings. If you truly put your hand up to be a genuine Christian, you won’t be liked you’ll be hated (Matthew 10:22), because you’ll be a threat to others’ comfortable niceness lifestyle. That’s why most Christians are actually tares, living under the benefits of Christianity but avoiding the pain of the commitment (Phil.3:18).
Jesus never did things to feel good or to keep people happy with Him. He confronted sin and arrogance in the temple, amongst the Pharisees, and even amongst His own disciples (John 6:61), and he was empathetic under the hand of God, not under the power of His human emotions. He understood the woman in adultery, but he declined to attend the funeral of one of His closest friend. He was always acting on the will of the Father, not reacting to his emotions. He healed the sick, but He also didn’t heal the sick (Mark 6:5). He declared He was the Christ, but He also told His disciples not to say who He was. He was always acting on the will of the Father, not reacting to his emotions. He spoke in parables so people wouldn’t understand and be saved. He was always acting on the will of the Father, not reacting to his emotions.
You can trick yourself and people with niceness, but God measures the inside, not the outside. If you want to be a real mature Christian you have to operate the same as Christ; you have to deliberately train yourself not to react to your emotions but to listen to them and talk with God about what you sense so that you diagnose from your spirit under God’s insight, and not from your soul.
Mature Christians sense the spirit that’s operating in a person, satanic like Peter, or Holy Spirit like Mary, and hold back their selfish emotions till God has shown them what they are sensing. To operate at this level a mature Christian has seen their arrogance and trained themselves to not make a judgment of put-down inferiority against someone who isn’t doing it the way they think is right. A mature has seen their own weaknesses and thus does not mock or belittle anyone else’s weaknesses. A mature Christian is tolerant of others’ weaknesses and differences but is not tolerant of their sin or moodiness. Most people are falsely tolerant because they don’t want you to not like them, and they falsely call this empathy, when in fact it’s sin. Maturity judges by spirit, sees weaknesses, and doesn’t belittle, but it’s not afraid to confront sin.
A mature Christian goes to God with their feelings and situations and seeks God’s perspective before their diseased soul automatically reacts. A mature Christian patiently waits for God’s timing before reacting. A mature Christian avoids surmising until they know God’s mind on the matter. He doesn’t react to his emotions; he uses his emotions to tell him information about what spirit is confronting him.
You can diagnose the spirit you’re up against when you don’t keep it happy. Keeping it happy doesn’t expose it. If the reaction is any form of resistance, moodiness, or complaint, you’ve offended a demon. The Holy Spirit doesn’t live on being kept happy, a demonic spirit does.
Training for maturity comes through hard times, loss, misjudgements against you and persecution; that’s why very few learn spiritual diagnosis.
Immaturity envies popularity and seeks man’s favour. Immaturity analyses everything through the hierarchical ladder of happiness through feeling superior and avoiding the pain of feeling inferior at all costs. This passion for feeling superior is the original sin in the Garden of Eden and is inherent in our Adam humanity, and can only be confronted by surrendering to the 2nd Adam’s no-reputation spirit (Phil.2:7). Immaturity hates correction because it makes you feel bad. Immaturity is bound by always trying to do the right thing to impress others and to gain self-value and favour. Immaturity is the sign of a false spirit.
You can take communion, declare the Nicene Creed, be a Sunday school teacher, be nice, and be generous but that doesn’t make you a Christian. A genuine Christian has died to everything and everyone and set his affections on things above (Colossians 3:2). You can measure your maturity by your lust for ‘elevation’ … putting others below you or above you and being envious of others’ hierarchy of position. You can measure your maturity by your moodiness to correction. You can measure it by your attitude to your neighbour (Gal.5:14).
True Jesus False Jesus (2 Cor.11:4)
Takes correction for good Heb.12:8 feels bad when corrected
Rejoices at someone’s increase envies someone else’s elevation
Trusts God if you’re not nice to me doesn’t like you if you’re not nice to me
Uses emotions to help diagnose evil spirits evaluates by how you make me feel
Lives for death lives for feeling happy
Is only concerned about God’s will chases favour, value, popularity
Doesn’t succumb to elevation desires elevation
Grows on put-down, persecution complains when things aren’t good
Takes responsibility for their sin blames others for making me do it
Strength through weakness 2Cor.12:10 tough, cool, tries to be fearless
Fear is a sign of evil attacking you lives under fear & avoids that feeling
Walks by faith uses good deeds to prove its value
Stands up for God’s principles modifies the principles so they are liked
Shares without reward 1 John 3:17 shares to obligate
Enemy of the world 1 John 2:15 loves the world and Jesus
Respectful of men 1 Tim.2 :11,12 disrespectful of men
Lives for God loves rewards
Submissive for God’s sake Titus 2:5 submissive for the sake of ME
Trusts God whether the authority is right or wrong tells the authority what’s right
Exercises the fruit of the Spirit fake fruit
Only those committed to the fight of faith will bother training themselves to come to maturity.
May God stir His remnant for this time.
Pastor Jim Daniels