When did you become a Christian? Years and years ago? A couple of years ago? This year? This month? Today?
Whenever you made the decision, I hope that you’re growing spiritually, both in your relationship with Jesus and in your knowledge about Him, living a Christian life, and sharing Jesus with others. If you’re not doing any of these things, then you’re a BABY! Hold on! Don’t get upset with me - that’s what the Bible calls you.
If you’re growing spiritually every day, great! But don’t stop, because there’s always room for improvement.
“My friends, you are acting like the people of this world. That’s why I could not speak to you as spiritual people. You are like babies as far as your faith in Christ is concerned. So I had to treat you like babies and feed you milk. You could not take solid food, and you still cannot, because you are not yet spiritual. You are jealous and argue with each other This proves that you are not spiritual and that you are acting like the people of this world ” (Contemporary English Version, 1 Corinthians 3:1-3). Wow! Paul really let the Corinthian Christians have it - with both barrels! What could have been happening with them that he had to be so bold? Well the bottom line was that everybody in the church in Corinth was arguing because some members liked Pastor Paul and others liked Pastor Apollos, and the church was becoming divided because of it. Isn’t it interesting that nothing changes in history? I’m sure that there are some Bible teachers and pastors that you like better than others, but Paul’s response was twofold:
- It’s not about the teacher; it’s about Jesus. Jesus is what’s important.
- The Corinthians were acting like non-Christians and spiritual babies.
Instead of being able to talk to these Christians in a mature way, Paul had to remind them that they were “not yet spiritual.” How about you? Are there attitudes and actions that you’re still choosing that are making Jesus say to you, “You’re still a spiritual baby!” Is God trying to fatten you up by giving you spiritual solid food, or as other Bible versions call it, “meat”? Are you resisting being fed solid food?
Guess what happens to babies who don’t progress from milk to solid food: they don’t grow like they should, or worse still, they die! Are you growing in Christ and becoming a mature Christian? Or are you stagnating, doing nothing and going nowhere spiritually? Or, worse still, are you dead?
The writer of Hebrews gives this stinging rebuke: “By now you should have been teachers, but once again you need to be taught the simplest things about what God has said. You need milk instead of solid food. People who live on milk are like babies who don’t really know what is right. Solid food is for mature people who have been trained to know right from wrong” (Hebrews 5:12-14).
Did you catch the inference that people who are spiritual babies don’t know what’s right? In fact, he says that the only way for a spiritual baby to know right from wrong is to receive training. I have two young children. My daughter is 13, and my son is 9. There are things I allow my daughter to do that I won’t allow my son to do. Why? Am I trying to be unfair and mean? Not at all! I don’t allow my son to do those things because he’s either not physically or developmentally able or ready to do them. He gets really upset with me and really envious of his sister’s increased freedoms. But he hasn’t reached the maturity of his older sister. In fact, if I allowed my son to do them, one of three things would happen:
- He would get physically injured and/or killed.
- He would get frustrated because he would consistently fail.
- He would lose interest quickly because he is not ready for the task.
The best way that I can strengthen and prepare my son to do those things that my daughter can do is to continue feeding him greater and greater amounts of food and to expose him to things that stretch and strengthen his skills. If he chooses to eat the food, he will grow, mature and develop…then and only then that will he be able to do the things that my daughter can now do.
You might ask yourself, Self, what does this have to do with me? I believe that the metaphor of babies, milk, maturity, and meat applies directly to our spiritual lives. Let me ask you a couple of important questions:
- Are you the kind of person that gets upset that other Christians are doing things that you can’t do, or that they appear to have more biblical knowledge than you?
- Do your Christian brothers and sisters seem to be passing you by in their Christian walk? What I mean is do they seem to be getting closer and closer to Jesus every day?
- Do your Christian brothers and sisters seem to be gaining victory after victory over certain previously difficult areas of their lives, such as certain bad habits, sins, and addictions, and you’re not?
- Do you recognize that God is trying to help you mature, but you’d rather stay a baby?
- Is there anything that you are keeping from God that He’s asking you to change?
Hebrews 6:1 says: “We must try to become mature and start thinking about more than just the basic things we were taught about Christ. We shouldn’t need to keep talking about why we ought to turn from deeds that bring death and why we ought to have faith in God.”
God will bless your efforts at maturity if you just try! Just make sure that your motives are right, because if they’re not, the changes won’t be consistent and long lasting. If you or someone you know continues to live with the same bad habits, sins, and, addictions they had prior to becoming a Christian, this should be a huge red flag that spiritual growth isn’t happening. Remember what Jesus said: “You will know them by their fruits” (New King James Version, Matthew 7:16).
In other words, people can say a lot of things, but the way that you’ll know if they really made a change and are growing as Christians is by their behavior, by their actions. The Christian life is about peace, power, and overcoming. It’s not about stagnation, failure, whining, and complaining. Even if all you’re doing is moving forward by baby steps, at least you’re moving forward! Before someone can run, they must first learn to crawl.
I’ve met many people who became Christians decades ago and yet continue to be spiritual babies. They don’t tell others about Christ, and they’re not active and working in their church; they’re just taking up space—like a bump on a log. They’re angry, mean, critical, spiteful, unloving, unforgiving, selfish individuals - like human prunes - who are emotionally and spiritually shriveled up, stuck in their ways, and absolutely refuse to grow! I hope that you won’t die spiritually. I hope that you’ll consistently thrive and grow up into spiritual maturity.
It might surprise you to know that God wants you and me to eat meat - spiritually speaking, of course. In the midst of this information, maybe it’s time you seriously and soberly assessed your spiritual health by taking your spiritual pulse. What you learn will hopefully reinforce teaching that you’ve already received and knowledge that you already have. But if not, it may surprise and shock you!
And if your heart is cold, hard, and dead, it needs a good shock to start beating for Jesus again. Turn up the juice and get the paddles--CLEAR!