I’ve discovered there is a difference between emotional and spiritual maturity. Yet, we can’t have one without the other. While emotional maturity is reflected in the quality of our relationships with people, spiritual maturity is reflected in the quality of our relationship with God. They go hand in hand. The Bible reminds us often that both a relationship with God and relationships with people are very important. “Jesus replied: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like this: Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-38).
As I research and pray deeply about this topic of maturity, I’m learning it’s essential we allow our Perfect God to change us. When we make the decision to let God mold us into a mighty individual for His kingdom, we will be rewarded with eternal joy, peace, love, and wisdom. Most importantly, we will be able to enjoy a more intimate relationship with our Creator and healthier, meaningful relationships with others.
As we take the journey towards emotional and spiritual maturity, understanding the difference between having a child-like faith and using childish behavior 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. Jesus had a very special love for children. Our Creator desires for us to have a child-like faith that includes trust, obedience, playfulness, and laughter. However, selfish, immature behavior causes pain in relationships and does not reflect the image of Christ.
Thankfully we can rely on an amazing, unchanging God. He was and will always be perfect. We are told in Malachi 3:6: “I am the Lord, and I do not change…” We can fully trust our Creator as we grow and develop into what He wants us to be. He always knows what’s best for us. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-3).