The length of time a person walks with the Lord doesn’t always equal spiritual maturity. The Word of God is the ultimate test to see if we are spiritual adults or if we are still babies who need a bottle of milk.
1 Peter 2:2 …as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
Hebrews 5:12-14 – For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
It’s a natural part of life that babies drink milk and as they get stronger and grow, they develop teeth to be able to chew meat. Babies are not capable of feeding themselves and have to have someone to help them.
Milk is a positive way to feed those who are new in their faith and should never be considered a handicap for a new believer. We would never consider a baby to be handicapped or impaired for needing basic necessities! It is God’s design that babies be cared for and fed until they have strong teeth and digestive functions to chew and swallow.
A new believer often has many questions about God’s word and the Christian life. They must have others chew the word for them and break it down into a type of digestible slush. Even the Holy Spirit will communicate with a new believer in such a way that it is tasty and easy to digest.
Babies can only see what is in their direct line of sight and their reasoning abilities haven’t developed yet. If they are hungry, they don’t choose a recipe, make a shopping list, or go to the grocery store. Instead, they are very simple minded. If they are hungry, they will cry until an adult takes all the steps necessary to make a meal. A parent will choose a recipe, purchase food, prepare it and then an adult can break the food down into a digestible form so the baby can receive their nourishment. A new believer has to have help in breaking down food that is given to them. The Holy Spirit will help them to understand spiritual things as they learn and mature in their Christian walk.
Baby Christians are also focused on the immediate world around them. They assume that the blessings of God are those things of the earthly realm such as money or cars. They are not capable of understanding that we are citizens of a greater kingdom. They don’t understand that this earth is not our home and these things are temporal. The blessings of spiritual revelations, depth of God’s word, and intimacy with the Lord are eternal blessings and just like a new born baby doesn’t make a good plan for dinner, new believers and immature Christians are unable to reason or even envision what a full spiritual bank account looks like.
Unfortunately, this lack of spiritual discernment and impaired sight may lead to deception. Babies eat anything that is fed to them without knowing or discerning what exactly they are partaking of. All they know is someone is providing a digestible substance to satisfy their hunger. Babies want what tastes good, even if it will not help them grow or mature.
Babies always need care and assistance but it’s only for a short period of time. If they are eating, drinking and their needs are met, they will soon grow and before long they will be eating solid foods, drinking many beverages, dressing themselves and they will begin to walk and talk.
However, if someone claims to be a mature Christian or a teacher of God’s word and they cannot chew on God’s word for themselves but must run to the latest teaching or event to receive their nourishment, then that is not a growth process – that is a spiritual crisis. We all like to share revelations from the Lord with each other but if a mature Christian has to borrow manna from the next-door neighbor as their only means of feeding themselves or others, this is a sign of impaired spiritual growth. This person is no longer growing but has become spiritually stunted and they are on spiritual life support.
Where’s the Beef?
The bible says those who are mature no longer drink just milk but they also eat solid food. Hebrews 5 says those who are mature in their faith eat meat and are knowledgeable in the word of God. They can give to others what they have received from God themselves. They are skilled at putting into practice the lessons they have learned in God’s word. Hebrews 5 also says they have exercised their senses to discern both, good and evil. Their obedience to God isn’t just staying away from certain sins but, through practice, they learn how to seek God’s will and follow His instructions as they are led by the Spirit of God.
Just like an adult goes to work even if it isn’t fun or enjoyable, a mature Christian knows that choosing to spend time with God will be more fruitful and beneficial than enjoying the pleasures of the world. In fact, after a person has grown in their spiritual walk, they find that eating a good meal of spiritual meat with the Lord is not just beneficial but it becomes much more fun than parties, sporting events, shopping or other idle activities.
A mature Christian will set God as their priority. They are no longer led by their feelings or their flesh. An athlete doesn’t wake up in the morning and decide if they “feel” like going to the gym or not. They are dedicated to their physical progress and have developed discipline that in turn produces growth and strength. Likewise, seasoned Christians are dedicated to their spiritual life and are led by the Spirit of God to develop spiritual disciplines. They know that God is a rewarder of those who will diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6) and that truly finding God is available only to those who seek Him with the whole heart. (Jeremiah 29:13). This intentional feasting on the things of the Spirit soon produce a heavenly harvest of blessings from the heavenly realm: revelation, power, wisdom, spiritual encounters with the Holy Spirit.
If you are a new baby in Christ, enjoy your milk. Love it, eat it up. Everyone loves a good glass of milk! The more milk of the word you receive and put it into practice, the stronger you will grow. You will no longer desire for someone else to feed you what they have, but as you mature, you will learn how to receive from God for yourself without the influence or help from man. You will get a different worldview as you are transplanted into a different kingdom.
If you are no longer a baby but haven’t come completely into a place where you can receive from God without the help of others, it’s ok! Strengthen and stand on what you do have. As you practice denying your flesh, you will develop spiritual disciplines that will help you grow. Sometimes, we have to tune out the voice of man, so we can learn to discern the voice of the Father without the static of human reasoning.
If you are a mature Christian who is steadfast in your faith – keep your eyes on the author and finisher of your faith until He completes the good work that He began in you. Stay diligent in the Word of God and prayer. Even the most seasoned Christian will soon revert back to worldliness and carnality if they reject to feed and care for their spirit man with spiritual disciplines and God’s word.
Being a mature Christian doesn’t mean that you are now a perfect Christian. Even Paul said, “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.”
Wherever you are in your Christian walk, may God reward you as you diligently seek Him with your whole heart. Whether we are eating the milk of the word or if we eat solid foods, let’s keep growing – with our eyes fixed on Christ until we reach our heavenly destination!