A Few Thoughts to Consider
Would you consider yourself a mature Christian?
This is a tough question to answer and many who are quick to say “yes” might just be the least aware of their need for spiritual growth. Thankfully, the book of Hebrews gives us some guidance. The theme of this letter is “Jesus is greater.” The author is addressing a Jewish congregation that struggles to put its beliefs into practice and in Hebrews 5:12-6:2, the author laments:
12 Although by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the basic principles of God’s revelation again. You need milk, not solid food. 13 Now everyone who lives on milk is inexperienced with the message about righteousness, because he is an infant. 14 But solid food is for the mature—for those whose senses have been trained to distinguish between good and evil.
6:1 Therefore, let us leave the elementary teaching about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works, faith in God, 2 teaching about ritual washings, laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3 And we will do this if God permits.
From this passage, we see four characteristics of baby Christians.
The first is that they are slow to obey. The author of Hebrews uses the word Greek word nothros (or dull) to describe his readers’ current state. This could mean sluggish, dull, dimwit, negligent, or lazy.
Second, baby Christians refuse to move past the basics. By “basic principles” (or stoichia), this also referred to a letter of the alphabet. In other words, the writer is saying, “You still need to learn your ABCs.”
Third, baby Christians suck but do not nourish others. In this letter to the Hebrews, the author is going to cover some deep topics such as the “Priesthood of Christ.” Some of the matters are so complex that many of his readers no doubt scratched their heads in question and amazement. But the reason they would struggle to understand this is because they had been used to a steady diet of milk.
Fourth, they are unskilled in the Word of God. Ultimately, people who are unskilled in the Word of God demonstrate this when they are placed underneath the gun of pressure. Like a house with a firm foundation, the deeper we are rooted in the riches of God, the stronger we will stand in times of adversity.
So how do you avoid these pitfalls? You simply do the opposite of what baby Christians do. You obey God’s voice the first time he speaks. You aspire to become a Christian of spiritual depth. You invest what you have into the lives of others and share what Jesus has done for you. And you constantly sharpen your understanding and application of God’s Word.
A Meditation to PRAY
Praise | Lord, thank you for providing milk when I am weak. And thank you for offering meat that gives me strength. I praise you for the nourishment that is only found in you.
Release | Forgive me for those times I am content to live on the faith of my past and do not seek for a fresh encounter with you.
Ask | Increase my desire for meat. Never let me lose that thirst for milk a child has, but also help me press on towards maturity.
Yield | Spiritual growth is difficult, so I place the weight of this on your shoulders. As I lean into your promises, study your word, and seek to become more like you, help me rest when I’m tempted to struggle.
A Challenge to Act Like Christ
One of the reasons many Christians stay in perpetual baby mode is they only want that from God which appeals to their physical cravings. We have ideological views of how we believe true Christians should look and behave. These ideals are shaped by how we were raised, the belief structure we have adapted, and our genetic makeup. But the key to moving out of baby mode is having the discipline to allow our prayers and our lives to be soaked in the riches of God’s Word.
The mark of a mature Christian is they are constantly seeking new ways to conform to the image of Christ. They read widely, study deeply, and listen to great speakers. They guard their quiet times with God and have a set place where they meet with him. Like an Olympic athlete who trains for the big games, they focus their eyes on the eternal prize of spending eternity with Christ.
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