As many of my readers know, I’ve very concerned that when most churches meet together, their goal is not mutual edification. I believe that whenever we get together with other brothers and sisters in Christ, we should seek to build up one another together.
Also, you may know that I define “edification” or “build up” as helping someone grow in Jesus Christ – that is, helping someone become spiritually mature.
However, I do not think that spiritual maturity is linear. What do I mean? Well, when it comes to age, maturity is linear. We grow older in a linear fashion; we never become less old, always more old. (I’m talking about age maturity, not necessarily emotional or mental maturity.)
But, when it comes to spiritual matters, I do not believe that maturity is linear. It is possible for us to be more or less spiritually mature at different times in our lives.
Thus, when we “mutually edify” one another, we recognize that no one has reached a certain level of maturity never to need help again. Instead, we are always seeking to help one another grow through whatever is happening right now in a person’s life. Past experiences can be helpful and can teach us, but they are not a guarantee that a person has grown past that experience.
Why is this important? We need to understand that discipleship is dynamic, flexible, and often repetitive. If we lose sight of this, we can become impatient or even unforgiving. We could think or say something like, “I just helped him with that issue, why does he need help again?”
This is also a good reason for community involvement – the “mutual” part of mutual edification. At any point in time, each person who is part of the community will be dealing with different issues. No one person is always “the spiritually mature” person in the community.
While there may be – and probably should be – a sense that someone is gaining ground in the area of spiritual maturity, we should never view spiritual maturity as a set of steps that, once we take one step we will never have to face that issue again.