Firstly I need to state that spiritual maturity is not measured by the amount of bible knowledge you have, or the amount of spiritual gift you have, or the kind of supernatural and mystical experiences you are having. Rather it is determined by the measure of life (Christ) that you have. One thing I have learned over the years of studying Christ is that spiritual maturity comes from abiding in Christ and being occupied with him.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser… Abide in me [vitally connected with me], and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.” (John 15:1,4).
When Jesus used the word ‘abide’ he gave a picture of a plant. A plant and it branches stick to where they are and remain connected to the stem and roots. That picture gives us an idea of how we are to stick to Christ and remain connected to him. The more we remain connected to him the more life will flow into us, and the more life flows into us the more mature you will become. So the amount of fruit we have is proportional to the amount of life that flows into us, and the amount of life that flows into us is proportional to how much we have been abiding (see John 15:1-10).
Unlike plants we humans are very active, we can’t just remain (abide) in a place doing nothing. It is only the dead that can just lie at a place, doing nothing and never move. For us to remain at a place we must be actively doing something, otherwise we get bored and move away from that place. It is an activity that keeps us stationed at a place, and it is our occupation that determines where we settle. So to abide in Christ we have to be actively engaging him, and when we come to a place where we are so occupied with Christ that he becomes our occupation then we would find ourselves completely settling in him, and that would result to the most rapid spiritual growth. You will agree with me that we Christians have a great measure to grow in Christ, therefore would it not be amazing if this growth becomes very rapid.
Here is how it works; the more you abide in Christ the faster you grow, and the more spiritually mature you become. Spiritual maturity is not determined by how long you have been saved but how much you abide in Christ. There is this social website I visit, the website calculates how long you spend online in it. It calculates it in minutes, then hours, and if you have spent up to 24 hours it covert it into a day. So when you login you can see how many how many hours you have spent on the website, and it present it this way, “You are 37 day old on this site”. So for example person A might be physically older than the other and person B in real life, and person A had created an account on that website long before person B did.
However, person B is older than person A on this social website because he has spent more time online than person A. This is how it is in Christ, we are like plants and the longer we abide the more we grow. Some people get born again and spend more time in the flesh than trying to abide in Christ, as a result their spiritual growth becomes supers slow. Another thing is that that the flesh has a way of draining the little life you have received from abiding. So some Christians never really grow at all cause they spend so much time in the flesh that it drains away all they’ve gotten from abiding.
If you ask an average Christian about how to grow spiritually they would tell you that you have to always read your bible and pray. When you are reading your bible or praying you are actively engaging Christ, and by so doing you are abiding and life is flowing into you which causes growth. However, many Christians do this religiously and are not truly engaging Christ, they are just carrying a ritual that their pastor told them to do. Active engagement is abiding and abiding result to growth. So if we are pursuing rapid spiritual growth then we must pursue a more steady abiding, and the fastest spiritual growth is when we settle completely in Christ, in order to achieve that we must have our occupation in Christ.
For many of us living in Lagos, the main reason we are here is because our occupation is here. If we have our occupation somewhere else there is a high tendency that we would move and settle wherever that place is. But we are here in Lagos because we feel that the land is rich, you can easily get something doing and start making a living. When we have a very poor Christ we tend to be bored and then we go get occupied with the flesh. We need a very rich Christ, one filled with many riches to explore, things to keep us occupied to the extent that we abide and even settle in him. Yes, we are born again Christians and we are in Christ, yet most of us spend more time in the flesh than in Christ, and the major cause of that is because we have a very poor Christ. First we need a revelation of how rich Christ is, this is so important that God specially called Paul to unveil to the body of Christ the unsearchable riches of Christ
“Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.” (Eph 3:8).
Christ is the word of God, but he is also the power of God (1Cor 1:24), and together with that he is the prophetic, for the scriptures says he is the revelation of God, and the testimony of Christ is the spirit of prophecy (Rev 19:10). Christ is the wisdom of God, our righteousness, our grace, and the door to God and His fullness, which of course involves the supernatural. So you see that there are many riches to explore, they are so many that one would not know where to start from. And to abide to the extent that you settle completely in Christ and grow most rapidly you need him to become your occupation. You need to get to a place where you are occupied with Christ all day long, and luckily for us this Christ is so rich that it makes it easy for us to be occupied with him all day long.
Now you may begin to ask how possible is that, can one be occupied with Christ all day long? Well, you are occupied with your flesh all day long, you are either working to feed and cater for the flesh or indulging yourself in things that pleases your flesh. And if we can spend all day occupied with the flesh why can’t we spend all day occupied with Christ. So we are slowly migrating from having the flesh as our occupation to having Christ as our occupation (this does not mean we are to become pastors). The scripture says we are to work out our salvation, salvation means deliverance, to be delivered from a tyrant king and a cruel kingdom and be transferred into a benevolent king and a land flowing with milk and honey.
“He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son.” (Col 1:13).
In the spirit we are already saved, we have been transferred into Christ and we abide there, yet still in our everyday life on earth we still need to migrate out of the flesh and into Christ. This is why the scripture says work out your salvation, it means stop living by the flesh, stop being so occupied by the flesh, rather have Christ as your occupation. So we are to gradually migrate from having the flesh as our occupation to having Christ as our occupation. So how can this be achieved? Simple, by diving in and start exploring the unsearchable riches of Christ. Do not pick and choose otherwise you will limit yourself, get bored and return back to being occupied with the flesh.
Many Christians would say, “No, I am only interested in Christ the word of God”. They limit themselves to just one aspect of Christ hereby increasing the temptation to be more occupied with the flesh. We need to open our hands wild and gather as much riches as we can to explore. Let out hands be full, do not limit yourself, become so full that you have no time for the flesh, no time to indulge its cravings. This is the reason I designed a course titled Oneness With God, it involves actively exploring the riches of Christ from the word (revelation) to developing Christ-like nature, and then to exploring the supernatural. You are left with so much to explore that little by little you realize you don’t have time for the flesh anymore.
The flesh would fight this change, it won’t go down without a fight, it would do everything to distract you and discourage you from getting so occupied with Christ. This is where having a couch and a group of people doing it together with you is so much of an advantage. You need all the help you can get, you must realize that the most important thing for you as a Christian is your spiritual growth, and now that you know how it works get to it. May the Lord strengthen you.