Measuring one's spirituality
Then more--how do they measure their spirituality? How do they know they are progressing? Having grown up in a classical pentecostal culture, too often maturity was consisted of about four or five things---which took 5 or more years to work through.
- Believing faith. Surrendering to Christ. Confession of sin. Acceptance of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.
- Public water baptism--signalling you passed # 1.
- Spirit baptism--signalling you passed # 1 and # 2. These three things could take 5 plus years. Interesting--as a side note--Luke in his narrative Acts--seems to teach these things happen in one afternoon.
- Some dimension of Bible knowledge.
- Some dimension of holiness --used to described 'what you stopped doing'--or need to stop.
So, the plan was--work through those five steps and boom! You are spiritual. You are mature. You can serve on the church board! Yahoo!
Saint Teresa of Avila in Way of Perfect wrote the following:
"If you wish to know whether you have made progress, my daughters, here is the measure for each of you: that you consider yourself the most imperfect of all and that you show this belief by actions conducting to the advancement and good of others." She goes to to explain that any blessings (consisting of visions, prayers, ecstasies) are not a sign of maturity. She warns that extraordinary signs may come and go. They are a sign of God's grace. Maturity consists "in humility, mortification, and obedience."
Wow it would be a lot easier to be mature if I didn't have to deal with me--and be in relationship with others!