Maturity in Christ
Watching my granddaughter grow over these past few months, we have cheered each new development. From focusing on a face or object, to smiling, laughing, rolling over and sitting on her own, each milestone is celebrated and documented with pictures. Although these developments are a normal part of human development, we still rejoice in each new accomplishment.
I believe our Heavenly Father celebrates our spiritual growth in a similar way. Just as our earthly fathers wouldn’t like it if we stayed infants, so God also doesn’t want us to remain in spiritual cribs after accepting Christ and being adopted into His family. He desires for us to grow and mature in our spiritual lives. A healthy development includes learning how to study our Bible, pray, walk in faith, produce the fruit of the spirit in our lives, walk in victory, and lead others to Christ.
Just as infants start out on a diet of milk, so Christians begin by learning the basic things of God. Peter tells us this in I Peter 2:2, “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation.” Peter uses this analogy to describe how we start out in our faith. We first need to understand the basic elements of the Christian life. However, we can’t mature while staying there. We must move onto solid food, which includes the deeper doctrines from God’s Word.
Hebrews 5:12-14 provides a great reminder of the importance of growing and maturing in our faith. “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.”
The last phrase of the passage is where we should desire to live – in using our powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. The day we live in requires constant discernment. We are bombarded by ideas that sound good on the surface yet have detrimental impacts on our Christian walk. Many such philosophies oppose the tenants of our Christian faith upon further investigation.
The beautiful thing about our Heavenly Father is that He has already provided the answers to the challenges of our day. The solutions lie in Scripture. As we spend time studying His Word and learning to apply it in our lives, it provides the compass we need to navigate our journey. Studying and applying Scripture enables us to cling to the good and avoid the evil.
Does our current diet contain mostly milk, or have we progressed to solid food for the majority of our spiritual nutrition? From the Hebrews passage, progressing to solid food produces the discernment we need to stay strong in the world today. Anyone up for a good steak?