If I could get over the shock of such an insult, and I knew that they meant it for my good, I would probably ask myself, “What can I do to grow up here?”
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 5:12-14
Being called a baby when you are not is an insult. Yet the author of Hebrews chastises the many of us who are spiritually immature. Admittedly, it is not entirely our fault – church leaders should be more skilled, focused, and committed to prioritizing the spiritual growth of their members. In fact, that is their job, and they often do not do it well.
Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. (Ephesians 4:11-12 NLT)
As that passage suggests, we all do the work of ministry, not just our pastors and other church leaders. But part of their work is to equip US to do the work God has called us to, both personally and as part of his Great Commission. Leaders’ failure to train us instead of merely teach us is one of the reasons Why Most Churches Suck!
But let’s not kid ourselves, we are also often uncommitted to the sometimes difficult task of maintaining our spiritual growth through disciplines like regular bible study and meditation, prayer for ourselves and others, and acts of love and service. In this passage, the author chides us like we sometimes do our own teenagers – “when are you going to grow up?” or “pay attention to what I am telling you!” (see Proverbs 5:1).
How to tell if you are a spiritual baby
- You are not volunteering to serve or care for others in your church or other capacity (your job does not count)
- When things get hard, you abandon your faith
- When intellectual challenges to faith come up, you have no answers because you have never dug deep enough to answer them for yourself, or not been challenged personally because your faith is not that central to your life
- You lack concern for others
- You hate people who disagree with you and act in a tribal, group mentality (they’re not in our group)
- You are not known for any of the virtues accompany spiritual maturity
These virtues should be present and growing in our lives, and not just when things are going well. What are the virtues of spiritual maturity?
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against things like this. (Galatians 5:22-23)
What can I do to mature?
- Make an effort to spend the first few and or last few minutes of the day (at least 10) with God, silently and prayerfully studying/reading the bible
- Learn more about spiritual disciplines
- In those tough moments, choose to respond kindly instead of angrily
- Volunteer to serve others in some capacity.
God, help me to grow as a spiritual person. Help me to grow in love towards you and others. Teach me what steps to take next as I study your Word. Help me to love good and hate evil. Show me chances to grow and serve people around me. Thank you! Amen.