Every good parent sees the need for their children to continue to develop and grow physically and intellectually. It is equally necessary for every person to understand the importance of continued spiritual growth and maturity. David illustrates what spiritual maturity accomplishes when he wrote, “LORD, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me. Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child. Let Israel hope in the LORD from henceforth and for ever” (Psa. 131).
In this short three verse psalm, David extends to us the direction of spiritual development and maturity. Oftentimes man equates spiritual maturity to Bible knowledge and recitation, but it is the implementation of the acquired knowledge that brings maturity. Consider three points David teaches about spiritual maturity from this psalm.
Spiritual Maturity Rejects Arrogance. David begins the psalm by stating, “My heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty.” David says his heart is not haughty, a Hebrew term meaning exalted or arrogant. He does not consider himself better than those around him. It is not uncommon to see some Christians who perceive themselves as above many of their own brethren and certainly above those in the world around them. David shows this as a sign of spiritual immaturity. The mature servant of God understands that all men are equally in need of his love and mercy. Therefore, the acceptance of the grace of God in no way makes us better than the rest of mankind; we have simply accepted what has been placed before us where others have not. One who is spiritually mature will not set himself up as better than those around him, but will show forth a loving desire to help and encourage his fellow man, recognizing he has the same needs and shortcomings.
Spiritual Maturity Understands Limitations. David continues the psalm with these words: “Neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me.” The phrase “exercise myself” means to “walk in, or meddle with.” David states that he does not insert himself into great matters. As king of Israel, there are certainly many great matters David has to oversee. However, David is acknowledging those things that are above his station. He recognizes there are things that only God can handle. Men are not able, or equipped, to control and remove every problem and situation that arises. The spiritually mature individual understands when to work at a problem and when to leave it in the hands of God. There are some Christians who feel the need to fix every problem, right every wrong, and be the ultimate enforcer of all things relating to God and his Word. While we must uphold truth, stand where God commands, and never waver in our convictions, the mature Christian understands there are some things that are too high for man; and only God is able to fully understand and resolve them.
Spiritual Maturity Accepts Discipline. David also relates his growth when he writes, “Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child.” The word “behaved” comes from a Hebrew word meaning “leveled, smoothed, likened.” David has leveled and silenced himself. He has learned how to be quiet and handle himself correctly. He compares it to the weaning of a child. He states that his soul has been weaned from the unevenness of childish ups and downs to the steadiness of maturity; from the constant need for questioning to the understanding of the value of silence and observation. The spiritually mature disciple is one who is “level-headed.” He is not constantly up one minute and down the next. Undeniably there will be ups and downs in the life of the servant of God, but the mature servant’s faith in God remains level and solid. There are not doubts and fears pertaining to the truth of God’s Word or the faithfulness of his actions; but a silent recognition of who he is, what he has done, and what he will do.
There is much that can be learned about spiritual maturity from this short psalm. As servants of God, may it always be our endeavor to develop spiritually so that we can have the same level of strength, conviction, and humility exhibited by David through these beautiful words.