What makes a mature Christian? Is it Bible knowledge alone? If you could download all Bible knowledge onto a USB drive and stick it in someone’s head so they could access it anytime they wanted, would automatically make them a mature Christian?

I think most of us can agree that becoming a mature Christian means a lot more than just being able to give the right answers to Bible questions. Now, don’t get me wrong, Bible knowledge is very important for maturing as a Christian. In fact, it’s essential. But knowledge by itself is terribly incomplete.

Christian maturity isn’t just about a transfer of Bible, it’s about the transfer of a way of life. It’s not just about our beliefs; it’s about our desires, perspectives, attitudes, habits, relationships—really, every aspect of our lives. Remember what Jesus said the greatest commandment is? In Luke 10:27, he said the greatest commandment is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind.” Not just with your mind as you acquire knowledge, but with every aspect of your being.

And in Romans 8, Paul says that God’s desire for us is to be “conformed to the image” of Jesus. Think about that: “conformed to the image” of Jesus. Becoming like Jesus in the way we live. So, that leads us to the question, “What did Jesus’ life look like? How did Jesus live?”

1. Jesus lived in close communion, or close fellowship, with God the Father. He loved his Father, trusted his Father, and obeyed his Father’s instructions.
2. Jesus was grounded in the gospel. In fact, he was the gospel. He embodied it, and he understood how the gospel applied to every aspect of his life.
3. Jesus lived in community with others. He developed meaningful relationships and shared his life with other people who were following God.
4. Jesus has a solid grasp of the Bible and was able to interpret it and apply it very skillfully.
5. Jesus practiced multiplication in his ministry. He made disciples and trained those disciples to make more disciples.

So, based on Jesus’ example, I believe those are the five characteristics of a mature disciple: living in intimate communion with God, being grounded in the gospel, living in community with other believers, being able to nourish ourselves from the Bible, and actively making disciples who make disciples. That’s what we’re shooting for. And that doesn’t just happen automatically as we learn more about the Bible. In order to acquire those characteristics, we also have to spend intentional time with people who have them. Check back soon for more about the disciple-making process.