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Three Steps to Spiritual Maturity

By Zac Poonen

1. Believing that God has a perfect plan for each of our lives:

“We are created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph.2:10). Long ago, when God chose us in Christ, He also planned what we should do with our earthly lives. Our duty now is to find out that plan – day by day – and to follow it. We can never make a better plan than God’s. We must not imitate what others do, for God’s plan for each of His children is different. God’s plan for Joseph, for example, was for him to stay in the palace in Egypt and to live in great comfort for the last 80 years of his life. On the other hand, God’s plan for Moses was for him to leave the palace in Egypt and to live in great discomfort for the last 80 years of his life – in the wilderness. If Moses had followed Joseph’s example, through the love of comfort and ease, he would have missed God’s will for his own life. In exactly the same way today, God may want one brother to live all his life in comfort in the U.S.A., and another brother to toil all his life in the heat and dust of North India. Each must be convinced about God’s plan for his own life instead of comparing his lot with that of the other brother and being jealous of him and criticising him. I know that God called me to serve Him in India. But I have never demanded that anyone else should have my calling. We will, however, never be able to find God’s will, if we are seeking our own honour or if we love money or comfort or the approval of men.

2. Knowing God intimately is the secret of being strong:

“The people who know their God will be strong” (Dan.11:32) Today, God does not want us to know Him second-hand through others. He invites even the youngest believer to know Him personally (Heb.8:11). Jesus defined eternal life as knowing God and Jesus Christ personally (John 17:3). This was the greatest passion of Paul’s life and must be our greatest passion too (Phil.3:10). One who desires to know God intimately, will have to listen to Him always. Jesus said that the only way man could keep himself spiritually alive was by listening to EVERY word that proceeded from God’s mouth (Matt.4:4). He also said that to sit at His feet and listen to Him was the most important thing in the Christian life (Lk.10:42). We must develop the habit that Jesus had of listening to the Father from early morning every day (Isa.50:4), right through the day; and then to be in a listening attitude in the hours of night when we are asleep too – so that if we ever wake up from our sleep at night, we can say, “Speak, Lord, Your servant is listening” (1 Sam.3:10). Knowing God’s will make us overcomers in all situations – because God has a solution for every problem that we face – and if we listen to Him, He will tell us what that solution is.

3. Receive all whom God has received:

“God has placed the members in the Body just as He desired…that there should be no division in the Body” (1 Cor.12:18,25). God has raised up men at different times in different lands to restore a pure testimony for Him. But after those men of God died, their followers have made their groups exclusive and cultistic. But the body of Christ is larger than any group. And we must never forget that. The bride of Christ is found in many, many groups today. So we must seek for fellowship with all whom the Lord has accepted, even though we may not be able to work together with many of them, because of differences in interpretation of the Word of God.

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