Eight Steps to Maturity in Christ identified by the Apostle Peter
One of the key messages in the Bible for Christians is that they need to keep moving forward as they walk with Jesus Christ. But what does that mean? If you think about walking in the physical sense, it means:
"A steady progression moving forward along a pre-determined path."
For the Christian this is no different. To progress and grow as we walk with Jesus Christ we too have a path to follow. The key words above are steady, moving forward and pre-determined, these too are the keys to Christian growth.
The analogy of "walking" with Christ is quite profound. If we had to "run" then we would be quickly worn out, possibly injured and definitely exhausted in the same way as we are physically when we run. But someone who "walks" can keep going for a long time, steadily covering a distance to take in and learn about the things around him or her. As Christians we are striving in this same controlled fashion as we are in this for the long haul.
Forward motion suggests growth and advancement. As Christians we seek to grow so as to become like Christ. Our aim is to emulate him and to learn, act and behave as he did. The value to us as individuals is that we are no longer at the mercy of our emotions. We can calmly and rationally make right decisions based on the truth of Christ.
A Pre-Determined Path
We follow a certain route to go from somewhere to somewhere else. As Christians we are moving from a life controlled by the emotions, passions and desires of the flesh to become like Christ where we choose to behave and do what is right.
The Apostle Peter described an eight-step program to achieve maturity in Christ, as identified in 2 Peter 1:5-7. We are encouraged to supplement or build upon each successive step to reach towards the next.
Eight Steps to Christian Maturity
- Faith - This is the basis of Christianity. You cannot be a Christian without faith, without believing in Jesus Christ. It is from this starting point that the Christian walk begins
- Virtue - Do what is morally good. Aim to always learn what is the right thing and then do it. This is not about being "holier than thou" but rather living a life of good works and moral behaviour.
- Knowledge - To progress you must learn what you need to know to progress. Knowledge is the key. Learn what is right and what is pleasing to the Lord through his ways and teachings. Only then you can move towards maturity.
- Self-Control - Too often the forces, people and things around us influence us, whether peer group pressure, family pressure or our own emotions and desires. Self-control gives us the ability to take a stand, choose rightly and to act appropriately on our choices.
- Steadfastness - It is important to be stable. Immovable. Steadfastness allows us to be calm when we are under fire. To be the rock in the storm. The value of steadfastness is that we know our position because it is right, and we cannot be moved from it regardless of the turbulence around us.
- Godliness - Learn to be like God. Learn his ways, which we see in the examples of Jesus Christ and the Apostles. Follow the teachings of the Lord so that we can progress to that place where we will be able to behave as he did.
- Brotherly Affection - In all of this it is important that we care for our brethren. We are called to be a family of God and it is important that as children of God, as brothers and sisters in the Spirit, that we get along.
- Love - Finally the essence of God is love. Not the mushy pulp depicted on TV or in movies but the love of God, which is action oriented. God is love, and if we are to be mature we need to aspire to living a life of love too. The love of God is identified in 1 Corinthians 13 and all of the attributes of God's love are not about feelings and emotions, but behaviours and attitudes.
I hope that you found something here to help you or add to your own knowledge. If you have any questions, then please feel free to contact me.