A Test for Spiritual Maturity

By Spencer Clark

The church of Corinth faced a problem: they were divided around personalities and preferences for different preachers and teachers, aligning themselves with Apollos, Paul, or others. Despite their affinity for spiritual gifts, Paul was deeply concerned with the unity and maturity of the congregation.

In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul wrote, “For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?” (1 Cor. 3:3 ESV). So we can test ourselves for spiritual maturity by whether our relationships and interactions at church are characterized by strife and jealousy. If this is the case, perhaps we are not as spiritually mature as we might imagine.

As Christians, we are called to “maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” as we live together in the body of Christ (Eph. 4:3). This does not mean compromising on doctrinal matters to get along, but it does mean we may have to sacrifice our wants, desires, and opinions for the sake of the body of Christ. The Scriptures say elsewhere that love “does not insist on its own way” (1 Cor. 13:5). Just as in marriage, constantly seeking our own way can result in conflict, and the same can happen in the body of Christ.

The divisions at Corinth were producing strife that did not build up the church. They were still fleshly and not as spiritually mature as Paul would have hoped. They needed milk and not meat, because their lives revealed their spiritual condition.

So, are you spiritual or fleshly? Are you finding yourself having strife or jealousy with people in the church? If so, then perhaps, like the Corinthians, you are of the flesh and behaving in a human way and not of the Spirit. A change of heart is overdue, and we need to seek the wisdom from above to transform ourselves into spiritual, not fleshly, people.