Pinecrest Bible Training Center

John 12:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone.

Beginning in 2008 the vision and bible school that God so graciously gave Wade Taylor beginning in 1968 came to an abrupt end, falling into the ground and dying.

We now wait for God to raise up and bring forth His seed of promise in another, that the vision fail not.

Spring 1994

Signs of Spiritual Maturity
John Wright Follette

The will of God for our lives will gradually unfold to us as we walk with the Lord. As we seek to please Him in all things, He will direct our path towards the center of His plan and purpose for us.

A man once said he had totally submitted his life to the Lord. He likened this to giving the Lord two bundles. In the first was all that the Lord might ask of him. He considered these and said, "In so far as I know, Lord, I unconditionally surrender all these to you.

In the second was all that the Lord might require, but of which he knew nothing. Again, he considered these and unconditionally gave these to the Lord.

Thus, he surrendered both his known and unknown will to the Lord. Often we are caught by surprise when the Lord asks us for something from the second bundle and we struggle in how to deal with it.

We think, if only this could be done once and for all. No, our submission to the Lord is to be repeated ten thousand times. We make one grand surrender, and then repeat and repeat it. We make one crucial choice, and then many lesser ones.

Once we surrender to Him, the Lord will accept it and then, bless us. Many, under the inspiration of this lovely blessing, will say to the Lord, "I will go where You want me to go, dear Lord, I'll say what You want me to say, I'll be what You want me to be." However, in a few days, should the Lord ask of them the simplest thing, they are unable to respond to the Lord according to all they had promised.

Some years ago, a young man come to the Bible School where I taught. He had some experience in the ways of the Lord and had ministered some. He had prayed for those who were sick and they were healed. All this made him feel important. He had just enough ministry to spoil him.

He came to school with the idea that he knew a considerable amount about spiritual things. I heard him pray an extravagant prayer in which he so desired to please the Lord that even martyrdom would be welcomed.

All of the students were required to do a work duty. Whenever it came his turn to wash dishes, he declared that God had not called him to wash dishes, but to preach the Gospel. I thought, you will not be fit to preach the Gospel until you can wash the dishes.

He went through an awful struggle. One time, as he was loudly praying about being a martyr, I wanted to tell him about the dish pan. In his spirit, something was twisted or criss crossed, but on the surface there was not a nicer person. He did finally come through, but the Lord had to do many things to bring about the deep inner correction that was needed.

After being in the ministry for a few years, he visited the school. He hugged me and said he had not known what ministry was really like, but now that he was a pastor, he understood. The Lord had done a marvelous work within him.

Be careful of pledging, "I will go where You want me to go" just because it is easy to sing. The Lord might ask you to do something you do not want to do. He knows exactly what to ask of us, and what it will take to expose our need and make a way for Him to bring the necessary correction.

I have discovered several principles that are "Signs of Spiritual Maturity." We often desire to know, "Am I really growing, is there any spiritual maturing in me?" There are certain signs given in the Word of God that are indicative of this. But first, we must recognize the symptoms of spiritual immaturity.

There are spiritual babies in the family of God. In the natural realm, there are certain characteristics that belong to a baby. We should not expect too much from a beginner. Those who are just beginning their spiritual journey should be allowed ample time to work their way through those things which belong to "a babe in Christ." Do not give them meat; they are not ready for it yet.

A child is only content in an environment which becomes a child. We are not to remain spiritual babies, but often we expect Christians to mature too rapidly. The Lord sometimes allows a person to be saved for many years before they emerge from their babyhood experiences. We should be very patient.

We must be careful when we give counsel to another. First, we must classify the one we desire to help. The Lord will give us insight and wisdom in how to direct this person. We should not attempt to tell a person their spiritual age, as it may cause them to stumble.

In the original language of Scripture, there are "sons of God" and "grown up sons." These are two different words. Obviously, both are true sons, but there is a difference. The second one has struggled in the sense of growth, to arrive at a level of spiritual maturity where the Lord can bring into his pattern of life things which he could not have previously handled.

There are also "fathers" and "mothers" in Israel." It is foolish for one who is not yet mature in the things of God to attempt to assume the role of a "father" who advises and counsels. The result can be devastating to those who are spiritually ignorant and take seriously the advice they received. No one should attempt to give to another a word of wisdom, counsel, or guidance until they first have gone through a period of "intensive living" under the dealings and workings of the Holy Spirit.

We may be conscious of the needs of another, but this does not mean that we are spiritually qualified to help them. It takes time and experience to become "fathers" and "mothers" in Israel."

If we are spiritually discerning and wise, we will know where a person is in their spiritual development by the way they testify or pray. The type of questions they ask also helps to classify them. In this, we must be careful not to assume the role of a critic.

There are signs which signify we are coming into a mature relationship with the Lord. A natural child gives great pleasure to the parent when he is obedient. But, the father does not expect this child to bear the burden of the mortgage on their home. There is a place of understanding and sharing with the Lord of which a spiritual child is incapable.

The outgrowth of the general characteristics of being a baby is one of the first signs of spiritual growth. A babe is always egocentric. He is born that way and neither the Lord nor the parents fault him for it. As a baby plays, he centers everything upon himself, pulling whatever he can reach to himself.

We find this carried over into the spirit. "When I received MY baptism" or, "the Lord said to ME." "Did you hear what the Lord did THROUGH ME?" These are symptoms of spiritual immaturity. The Lord will let us lay there and kick our feet for a long time, but then He brings us to the place where we begin to push out and enter new horizons.

A baby has no conception as to His identity. Then he comes into a discovery of "self entity." He will discover that he is different from anything He had been touching. Have you seen a little baby discover his toes?

After this "self discovery," we begin to mature to the place where we realize that we were not made for ourselves, but for the Lord. Then in a surrender and dedication of our lives to the Lord, He can begin to work into us the things He desires.

To have Christ formed within us, and the Lord's will perfectly wrought out through us, is an objective which will require every aspect of our being to make this possible. We cannot press a button and accomplish it in a minute. Our spiritual development demands much submission, faith, and obedience.

It takes all this to make the Lord's objective for us possible, which is to "conform us to the image of His Son." He cannot give this to us as a gift. We do not achieve spiritual maturity just because we are Christians.

There is another sign that we are progressing towards maturity. We learn how to focus upon a Scriptural objective in our living and therefore begin to understand the Lord's ways. As a result, when He works on us, we do not react and blame the enemy for what is taking place. Now, we no longer attempt to escape an arrangement that may have taken the Lord years to set up to accomplish His purpose within us.

Another indication of spiritual maturity is the ability to interpret the movings of God. We are able to say, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose" Rom 8:28. No longer are we egocentric, praying outlandish prayers, but we have become Christ centered. We realize that we are in Christ and that everything must relate to Him.

Finally, we are to resist and rebuke the enemy. The Lord teaches our hands to war and our fingers to fight. Then He turns around and allows the enemy to get us into a difficult situation. He gives us a consciousness that this is an arrangement that He is using for a purpose. If we can accept it as being from the Lord and trust Him for the deliverance which He will bring, He will use this for our discipline and training.

Does all this come to us at once? In the natural, a baby does not grow into an adult overnight. But as he approaches maturity, he begins to leave behind the former things. In the spiritual realm as well, he should go beyond the blessings, gifts, and movings, which the Lord used to provoke his spiritual growth.

These are signs by which we can rightly judge our progress towards mature spirituality. By these, we can know where we are and the changes that are needed to bring us into an alignment with all the Lord desires for us.

NOTE:::: Following is a "side bar" which should be placed in an out lined and tinted block somewhere besides the article See me if a question.


. A move from self absorption
to self surrender

. A preoccupation with blessings and
gifts turns to the Lord Himself.

. Responds to difficult situations as
discipline and training.

. Discerning and wise in counsel of

. Exercises patience with less mature

. Christ becomes all and in all.