7 Ways To Be A Better (More Mature) Christian


The New Testament encourages Christian to grow in their faith. Peter desired that believers “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 3:8). Paul’s hope for followers of Jesus Christ was that God would continue his work in them: “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6). So how can a Christian grow in their faith?

It’s important to understand that good works — even spiritual ones — don’t save a person (cf. Eph. 2:8). However, works, habits, routines, and disciplines can help someone who is already a Christian grow in their faith and become more mature and Christ-like. However, such growth isn’t merely the result of going through the motions of a new routine, but developing a relationship with God through Christ.

1. Initiate showing love to people who need it the most

One time a Pharisee asked Jesus what the greatest commandment was. In reply, Jesus told him what the two greatest commandments are. The first is to love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength. Then Jesus said, “And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22:39, ESV).

Loving people who are easy to love is important. Yet loving people who are hard to love will often foster more growth in your spiritual life. As a result, you will become more like Jesus. Paul says that while we were Jesus’ enemies, he died for us (Rom. 5:6, 10). To be like Christ, Christians must love their enemies and those in their families, church, and workplace that are harder to love.

  • John 13:34, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”
  • 1 John 4:11, “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”
  • Romans 13:8, “Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.”

Christian author Edward Welch writes, “We are called to love not because other people are empty and need love (to feel better about themselves) but because love is the way in which we imitate Christ and bring glory to God.” [1]

Bible study
What are spiritual disciplines? See below

2. Spend more time with people who love the Bible

Perhaps you know someone who is deeply passionate about the Bible. They not only know a lot of theological, historical, and literary facts, but their love for Scripture extends beyond mere information. Passion can be contagious. Spending time with people who love the Bible and live it out can be a catalyst for growth.

  • Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
  • 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”
  • Joshua 1:8, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”

Pastor Tim Challies writes, “Life is far too difficult and we are far too sinful to live in solitude. We need community. We need accountability. And God has anticipated our need by giving us the local church as the primary means of this accountability.” [2]

better disciple
To what extent should Christians sacrifice? See below

3. Replace a worldly habit with a spiritual discipline

The power of spiritual disciplines doesn’t lie in the motions of the behaviors but in a person’s heart. Like a husband and wife might set aside a certain time to communicate, planning certain behaviors like Bible reading, prayer, church attendance, solitude, journaling, and fasting can help your relationship with God.

  • 2 Timothy 4:7b-8, “Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”
  • 2 Timothy 2:15, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.”
  • Proverbs 4:23, “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.”

Author Jerry Bridges writes, “Spiritual disciplines are provided for our good, not for our bondage. They are privileges to be used, not duties to be performed. To take off on a familiar quotation from Jesus, ‘Spiritual disciplines were made for man, not man for spiritual disciplines’ (see Mark 2:27).” [3]

4. Before making important decisions know what Scripture says

What principles and values does God want you to consider and pray about before moving to a new house, quitting your job, or getting married? The Bible has the answers. When God guides, affirms, and blesses the most significant decisions of your life, it promotes spiritual maturity in the big and the small things.

  • James 1:5, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”
  • Proverbs 1:7, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
  • Colossians 3:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”

Theologian Sinclair Ferguson writes, “We learn about guidance primarily by learning about the Guide. It is the knowledge of God and His ways with men which ultimately gives us stability in doing His will.”

5. Give until it hurts

Jesus is the ultimate example of sacrifice. He set aside his glory when he became a human being and gave up his life when he died on the cross. Sacrifice was so core to who Jesus was and what he did that his followers can’t neglect it in their own life if they want to be like him.

  • Hebrews 13:16, “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”
  • Ephesians 5:2, “And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
  • John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”

Missionary and martyr Nate Saint once said, “If God would grant us the vision, the word ‘sacrifice’ would disappear from our lips and thoughts; we would hate the things that seem now so dear to us; our lives would suddenly be too short; we would despise time-robbing distractions and charge the enemy with all our energies in the name of Christ.”

growing Christian
What does it mean to preach the gospel to yourself? See below

6. Become a member of your church

19th-century English preacher Charles Spurgeon, once said, “Nobody can do as much damage to the church of God as the man who is within its walls, but not within its life.” Being a member of a church isn’t necessary for salvation. However, a formal and public commitment may help some people engage more with the body of Christ in a way that promotes spiritual maturity in their lives.

  • Hebrews 10:25, “Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
  • Acts 2:42, “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”
  • Hebrews 13:17, “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.”

7. Preach the gospel to yourself every day

Jerry Bridges writes, “To preach the gospel to yourself, then, means that you continually face up to your own sinfulness and then flee to Jesus through faith in His shed blood and righteous life. It means that you appropriate, again by faith, the fact that Jesus fully satisfied the law of God, that He is your propitiation, and that God’s holy wrath is no longer directed toward you.” [4]

  • John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
  • Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
  • Romans 10:9-10, “Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.”

References:
[1] When People are Big and God is Small by Edward Welch. p. 147.
[2] Escaping Anonymity by Tim Challies, Tabletalk, April, 2009, p. 70.
[3] Transforming Grace by Jerry Bridges. p. 127.
[4] The Disciplines of Grace by Jerry Bridges. p. 58.

Daniel Isaiah Joseph

Daniel's seminary degree is in Exegetical Theology. He was a pastor for 10 years. As a professor, he has taught Bible and theology courses at two Christian universities. Please see the About page for details.

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