“About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 12 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,”
(Hebrews 5 vv. 11-12)
Such a lovely time spent with family this past weekend. Beautiful times honoring God and the birth of our new family member. My ex-husband flew in for this occasion, and because of his presence, some family members were deeply concerned that I would pull a “highly introverted, have too much to do” reason for not attending.” But I didn’t! I appeared with grace and dignity.
On Sunday morning, my telephone rang. I answered, and on the other end was a dear friend who asked, “How was it to be in the company of your ex-husband?” Politely, I responded by saying, “If you’d asked me this question about ten years ago, my response would be different. However, I had no mental discomfort. It was easy to be kind and show interest in his life. With Jesus as my guide, now these instances are so much easier. I even had an opportunity to share who God is with him.” She responded, “Now that’s a clear sign of maturity. I am not sure I can say I am there yet.”
But am I really there yet? Am I utterly mature in Christ? Or do I pick and choose specific circumstances and ignore His teachings in others? As a deep thinker, I frequently asked myself these words after the conversation with my friend.
Production of maturity appears through honest displays of the fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5 vv. 22-23). It is a ripeness of behavior that shows the utmost love of Christ—the laws of love Jesus commanded us to do (Matt. 22 vv. 37-39). I remind here that this love, in its essence, is ordered by our Savior. Quite the opposite of legalism, yet still, they are commandments too.
Matthew 18 vv. 1-4 tells us:
At that time, the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
Jesus speaks of childlike faith in this passage. But in our upside-down world, many adopt a childish faith instead. We memorize Bible verses and do not mark them on our hearts. We see depth, and our walk is narrow. We speak of our length of exposure to knowing Christ but are still incompetent in our talks, in actions. Smooth talkers, doing remarkable things, but oh so tarnished we are on the inside. This is all of us! It is me! It is you!
Growing in Christian maturity is a meticulous process. It is not easy, especially if we allow misplaced primacies to rule our every being. If we permit the world to shadow God’s Word, maturity suffers. The attainment of spiritual maturity should filter into every area of life. But to get there, we must be willing to exchange self-interest, passivity, and indifference with courage, diligence, and daily effort to grow and mature through God’s Word.
“So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation.” (1 Peter 2 vv. 1-3)
This past weekend’s time spent with family allowed me precious moments with my granddaughter. When she was hungry, she let us know. My daughter obliged, and nothing else would satisfy our baby. Such is us! No matter how much we know, immaturity returns us to elementary status. First Corinthians 3 vv. 1-3, speak of purity in learning. As believers, we should always stand and yearn for spiritual, healthy food! Just as my sweet granddaughter has for her mother’s milk, which is unadulterated and nourishing.
God’s words are complete, unadulterated, and nourishing.
All Bible verses are from the English Standard Version (ESV). Crossway Publishers