dependence on God

I was talking to someone a while ago about a test of spiritual maturity. He was trying to come up with one. He said that it is quite hard to do. Does reading your Bible for a certain amount of each day count? Does praying for x amount of time count? But couldn't that be nothing more than guilt compelling a person rather than real relationship with the Lord? What about exercising spiritual disciplines? Is someone who fasts more often than someone else more spiritual? Then the Pharisees who showed off their fasting for all to see would rank highly. Church attendence could mean something... unless the church is essentially dead. And to base something like this off of spiritual knowledge does not work either. Otherwise, the Pharisees and teachers of the law again would have ranked high.

Here's what I think (and I could be way off - its just the thought currently going through my mind). I think spiritual maturity is based off of dependence on God. It is coming to realize just how truly weak I am on my own and depending on God to change me and enable me to live a life in the Spirit. A spiritually immature person is one who depends on God for salvation alone. It does not matter if they are Ph. D.'s at seminaries. As far as applied spiritual growth goes, they are no better than one who just prayed to receive Christ - in fact, probably worse, because they probably have a tremendous amount of spiritual pride due to their intellect that very well could permanently stunt their spiritual growth.

As one grows they start to trust God for more and more, not just for strength and perseverance, but empowering, inner healing, victory over addiction/habitual sin, deliverance from the enemy, health, peace of mind, evangelistic opportunities - but I think someone more familiar with how weak they are without the Spirit starts to realize they not only need the opportunity, but that they are probably too weak to obey the Spirit's prompting to share, so they pray for the Spirit to guide their words. Then they realize the divine appointment, the right words from the Spirit, etc. are not enough, they need the Spirit to allow the other to be receptive. And the more one grows in their walk with Christ the more they realize just how truly weak they are on their own, and just how incredible the Holy Spirit is to us. Each aspect of growth in the Christian life becomes an unplugging of ourselves from dependance on ourselves or something of this world and then a replugging back into God. Until all we know is that our default mode for every circumstance, condition, or event is to go to Him. And perhaps this is what is meant what the Bible talks of praying without ceasing or abiding in Christ (John 15). Like capilaries in a human body every part of us connects into a part of Him. The Christian life is not about learning as much facts as I can, but rather be so intertwined with the Lord that people do not see where we end and He begins. God, move me to this place!!