“We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil” (Hebrews 5:11-14)
A person can have gone to church all their life and be an infantile disciple.
A person can have important sounding titles – pastor, reverend, elder, deacon, teacher – and be an infantile disciple.
Being a maturing follower of Jesus has little to do with how long someone has been attending church or even titles.
Let’s take a look at how God defines immature, infantile Christians and how God defines mature Christians.
- Needs milk, not solid food
- Anyone living on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness
There are a couple of descriptions that mark a baby Christian.
Even though they have been going to church for most of their lives, even though they have some important sounding titles in the life of the church, they are still drinking milk, not solid food. In fact, being an infant, they are still being fed milk, not taking on solid food on their own.
This is one of the primary marks of a baby Christian. They haven’t learned how to wean off milk and start learning how to feed themselves. They look like full-grown adults, but still need someone to feed them milk. The key characteristic is that even though they look like full-grown adults, they are still “unacquainted with the teaching about righteousness.” They are still babies when it comes to knowing God’s word.
And just like all babies, all they know is, “Love me, feed me, change me, hold me…” Me, me, me. When you have a church full of babies and not enough adults to care for them, it is exhausting.
There are a couple of descriptions that mark a maturing Christian.
- Solid food is for the mature
- Who by constant use have trained themselves
- They distinguish between good from evil
The first mark of a mature Christian is they have learned how to feed themselves. They don’t need constant feeding. They take the responsibility of feeding on their own.
They have been training themselves in God’s word by constant use. They put to practice what they read in God’s word. This is not a one time practice. This is an ongoing training. Going to the gym for one day will accomplish nothing except to make you sore. It takes constant training to get stronger.
Finally, because they have familiarized themselves with kingdom principles, they are able to discern between good from evil. They can smell out fishy faith in an instant because they know what the real deal looks like. Mature Christians are wise because of their familiarity with God’s word.
The cries of babies in a church are a healthy sign. That means that the church is growing. But it needs mature people who will tend to babies. That makes for a fantastic church.
I thank God that so many of you have taken the initiative to grow in God’s word. It’s still not too late to get into a small group. Get in the word and let the word change you!