Spiritual maturity is the goal of life, not getting to heaven.
Some reading this will likely recoil in shock. Maybe anger. That’s OK. A few of these will conclude I am beyond redeeming. That, too, is OK. What I know is that there are some who will resonate with what they read. It is they who will understand for they share a similar experience.
If you do not, no worries. Your experience is authentic for you. Unless it isn’t.
In whatever way you respond, however, try to avoid judging. To judge is clearly the lowest level of spiritual maturity. Don’t tell those who are doing the judging, however. They think their judging is because they have achieved a level of knowledge that is superior, more enlightened, and, as a consequence, truer than others.
What Does SM Really Mean?
This is their delusion. I smile at such people because I once did the same thing and, occasionally, I still do. It’s hard removing from one’s life all vestiges of arrogance and spiritual immaturity.
Exercising judgment for yourself is not the same thing as judging others. We all exercise judgments and we should. I prefer the word wisdom and discernment. But the word “judgment” in this context works, too.
Discerning what’s right for us is good. Judging what’s wrong with someone else or what they “should” be doing or believing is well just plain wrong. Immature. The lowest level of spiritual maturity. It is this kind of judging Jesus condemned and so demanded his followers have no part in. Go read Matthew 7:1.
The Goal of Life is Not Going to Heaven
When you judge another, you only succeed in demonstrating your need to judge. But what you do not know is the real reason you need to judge is to feel better about yourself.
You judge in another what you have misjudged in yourself already.
The other thing you succeed in doing whenever you judge another is to fall prey to self-delusion. That insidious evil that would presume your opinion is more accurate or your beliefs are more correct than those of the judged.
Neither of which is remotely true. Not even close.
The goal of your spiritual life is maturity…not going to heaven when you die. You are going to heaven already. Everyone is. That’s the point of Christmas. Jesus stepped onto the stage of humanity to say God welcomes everyone, not just those in your tribe or mine.
Which is precisely why the very people He was compelled to bring this message of openness and inclusiveness turned their backs on him. Inclusiveness and openness were the last things they were interested in.
The Real Goal in Life
Not much has changed in many “churches” today.
What could be more immature than narrow-minded exclusivity?
If the point of your spiritual experience is so you’ll go to heaven one day it seems to me – although years ago this WAS the goal of my spiritual life – however, it seems to me, if this is the point, purpose and goal of my spiritual life, I am at best motivated by the lowest, most selfish kind of spiritual ambition.
On the other hand, the highest level of spiritual maturity is to transcend and include. It is to accept where you are now as well as where everyone else is in their journey toward maturity. The spiritually mature are those who are growing and, as they do, they change.
There are changes, sometimes radical changes, in how they think, in how and sometimes what they believe, and in how they behave or the way in which they live.
Additionally, and this IS the point, they arrive finally…and, it is almost always…finally… at a place in their life where their new level of maturity gives them the capacity no longer to judge previous levels or those who are still at such levels, as inferior or less enlightened.
With spiritual maturity comes the capacity to transcend all previous levels of spiritual development but, rather than despising previous levels, or looking down on such levels as spiritually inferior, you suddenly discover a renewed appreciation for all previous levels of spiritual maturation.
That is you accept, or maybe it is forgive, yourself for living at that level and those who still are.
Achieving Spiritual Maturity
When this becomes true for you…when this becomes true for me…
The judging all but disappears from your life…from the world around you.
You are learning the secret of life…attaining spiritual maturity…transcending and embracing at one-and-the-same time.
This should indeed be the goal of your life…
The goal of every Christian…
The goal of every serious person, whatever their faith.