At some point or another, we all wonder why we’re here on Earth. Naturally, we want to contribute something to this life and leave our mark. We want to conquer challenges and reach for ever-increasing heights. All of us want to love and be loved. Simply put, we want to matter. But if we are ever going to do anything meaningful in this life, we have to grow physically, intellectually, and most important of all, spiritually.
Our spiritual growth is vital, but it doesn’t happen automatically—we have to put effort into the maturation process. Many passages in the New Testament assume that growth and development should take place. The writer of Hebrews says that his audience should have grown to the point that they could be teachers, yet they had not done so (Hebrews 5:12-14). The apostle Paul tells the sophisticated but spiritually immature Christians in Corinth that he expects the congregation to grow (1 Corinthians 1:9-10; cf. 13:10-12; also Ephesians 4:13-16). At the time he wrote his letter though, they had not done this. Peter tells his readers to grow as well (2 Peter 3:18).
One way we mature in Christ is by spending time with God. Regardless of where we may be in our relationship with him, all of us can benefit from spending time with him every day. It may be prayer – those times when we speak to God. It may be reading the Bible – those times when he speaks to us. We should meditate on Scripture, seeking to understand it ever more deeply (Psalm 119:15, 148).
Spiritual maturity helps us to understand biblical doctrine more accurately and oppose false doctrine more ably. It gives us confidence and encouragement in this life so that we can weather the trials and temptations we will face. It helps us to be gentler and more loving toward one another and the lost. But it also gives us the same unshakable joy that Paul had even when his life was nearing its end. Christian maturity not only helps us navigate the world, we do so with the truth as our guide.
The kind of maturity that produces these things is one that is born of an earnest desire to spend time with God. It shouldn’t be just a part of our daily routine or another box to tick off on our checklist. David said, “My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, Lord, I will seek” (Psalm 27:8). For David, this was not a half-hearted search; it was a passionate quest. I think it should be the same for us. Not because of the benefits we derive from knowing God and doing his will, but because standing in his presence in glory should be the breathless pursuit of every human soul. And spending time with him in prayer, reading Scripture, and meditating upon his truth is how we can have a little bit of heaven on earth.