Christian maturity is the aim of every believer and the goal is to reach "the very height of Christ's full stature" (Ephesians 4:13). In this 192-page course, Rick Howard teaches that although we cannot become completely like Christ, we are to reach for this highest of goals that the Bible sets for us, since this will enable us to achieve more than accomplishing a goal that is too low.
God desires a growing fellowship with each person. Humankind also desires this relationship and feels lost without it fellowship with God.
This course, as the Holy Spirit uses it to teach you, will help you grow. And as you grow, you will become aware of new rights and more important duties in God's family.
We have seen that our heavenly Father desires our maturity so we may fellowship with Him. We need to grow and fulfill the purpose for which God created us in His image.
"What does Christian maturity look like?" you may ask. That is our purpose in this lesson. We want to clearly define Christian maturity in terms of goals that we can visualize.
The primary illustration of Christian maturity in the Bible is Jesus Christ. We Christians are to be conformed to the likeness of Jesus Christ. This is the eventual goal of Christian maturity.
In this lesson we will study several other illustrations. These will include the family, farming, and building. Our purpose is to see the concept of Christian maturity as clearly as possible.
One part of this lesson is meant to show you from Scripture passages things that cause Christian maturity to be delayed or even stopped entirely. Another part of this lesson is a list of things that aid spiritual growth. Knowing these things, we can then cooperate with the Holy Spirit to cause our new life in Christ to grow. Together we should find encouragement and help in this study.
Parents and teachers often use rewards to encourage us to grow. These prizes are called incentives. An incentive is something that moves us to action. The Bible shows us many of the incentives provided for Christian maturity. This lesson is meant to introduce some of these Bible rewards to you.
Maturing Christians are able to receive teaching that the Holy Spirit has for them. This teaching leads to goals of Christlike usefulness. Growing Christians must be aware of the final exam they must take before their Lord. Mature family responsibility must be attained. But how do we accomplish these goals? This chapter deals with practical steps for accomplishing them.
There is a very important principle taught to Christians in God's Word: We must establish what we have learned and then go on. We should not continue to repeat the same lesson. Let us not linger in the child stage of our growing up. The foundation of our Christian experience must be made secure. Then, we must begin to build beyond foundational truths.
Someone once asked, "If you were on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?" In a sense the world at large is like a jury. Even unbelievers recognize whether or not Christians live up to what they profess or say. This lesson deals with the most convincing evidence of mature Christian life: the believer's manifestation of Jesus' character in his or her life.
There are specific evidences in believers who are moving toward the image of Jesus Christ. First, they bear the unmistakable family resemblance. They begin more and more to express the character of Jesus Christ.
The believer's work is a second and equally clear evidence of maturity. A growing believer is a useful believer. As maturity increases, believers become more and more able to accept responsibility.
To measure ourselves by the standard that Jesus Christ achieved in His life on earth seems hard. Cheer up! God not only sets the standard for us, but He helps us reach the goal. It is God's greatest delight to take weak people and show His power of transformation through them. This is the great hope of our calling in Jesus Christ.