When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the LORD’s anointed is before him.” But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:6-7 ESV)
Many of us have the tendency to measure the Christianity of our neighbors by such things as church attendance, participating in Bible classes, or taking part in church activities. If they don’t do these things then we might question the maturity of their Christianity.
Men must lead in prayers, teach classes, serve as deacons, or help take up the offerings and serve as ushers if they wish to be seen as mature Christians. Likewise, women must teach children’s classes or women’s classes. At the very least, they should clean the building.
Too often, we rely on our own favorite measures (such as those above) to judge the appearance of others. People will do a lot of things they say are for Jesus, but inside they are dead spiritually. This type of measurement neglects the many parts of the body of Christ and emphasizes only the external actions of the individual concerning the church.
How then should we measure the maturity of a Christian?
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23 ESV)
The qualities above are possessed by the truly spiritual man. This is evidence of the Holy Spirit working in a maturing Christian. Christian maturity begins with the inner man. A man may preach a great sermon, but what about his family life? Does he contend for the faith in the right spirit? Is he quick to anger? Is his conduct becoming?
The kind of measurement for Christian maturity found in the Bible emphasizes the reforming of the inside of a person first and then trusting that the external performance will follow. This is the system God uses and He can see us as we really are. So I would suggest caution before you judge others or compare their Christian maturity to your own.
For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7 ESV)
Let us remember to measure ourselves and others in the same way the Lord uses. It is also good to remember that the Lord measures by His perfect standard which we cannot apply perfectly.
Filed under: Bible, Christianity, Church, Church Leadership, Grace, Holiness, Humility, Jesus Christ, Salvation, Samuel Adams Tagged: | Christ, Christian, English Standard Version, Jesus, Lord, Samuel