Where do you want to go in 2021? You can decide!
What is ‘milk’?
The word ‘milk’ in Hebrews 5 refers to the bare–bones teachings of Christianity. Christians who live on milk, not solid food, have been forgiven, have begun to read the Bible and make attempts at prayer. They may attend church more than they used to. They know that they should resist bad habits like foul language, temper tantrums and so on, though they aren’t always successful. They might have started putting a little something in the offering, and they come to Christian functions expecting to have their own needs met. They probably don’t give much thought to others’ needs or of contributing to others’ welfare.
The person living on milk is like the baby that hasn’t yet started eating the good stuff. Hebrews is saying that even though the readers have been Christians long enough to move from milk to solid food, still they haven’t grown as you would expect. In a sense, they are still spiritual Hermies: pathetic, anemic, lazy or unwitting. They continue on in their spiritual babyhood, sucking the bottle, having pureed peas spooned into their mouths, not liking the taste but lacking the will or the way to prepare and digest a delicious Ribeye. They choose not to advance their own spiritual wellbeing, or they lack the basic instruction to mature as God expects.
What is ‘solid food’?
Moving beyond basic Christianity to spiritual maturity is ‘solid food;’ from salvation to sanctification, defined as “being set apart by God for His sacred use.” Solid food is growing from reading a few verses and wondering what they mean or how they apply, to devouring the Bible in–depth, with help and support, as necessary.
I would be remiss not to point out the value of a Bible–based college and seminary to help instill personal and ministry maturity. In essence, to BECOME MORE!
Maturity includes faithful participation in many corporate growth opportunities. Moving from Christian infancy to maturity is developing spiritual disciplines and personal habits that please God. A good starting point is the “Fruit of the Spirit” in Galatians 5:22–23.
Growing to maturity encompasses learning to give joyfully and generously to the work God is doing in the world. It is maturing beyond just wanting our own needs met; now looking for opportunities to serve the Body of Christ in ministry.
The Hebrews author was disappointed to find that even though the readers had been Christians for a while, they were still sucking milk out of a bottle, when they could have been eating steak off the grill. All this talk of growing spiritual maturity raises the question . . .
How do I compare?
How does my Christian maturity today compare to the way I was in December 2019? Or 2009? Or the day I trusted Jesus as my Savior? What areas in my faith have matured? God forbid, have I actually slipped backwards?
If I have not grown as I should because I chose poorly, will I choose personal spiritual solid food and maturity this next year over spiritual baby food? And where can I find the help and guidance I need to grow up from infancy or toddlerhood to competent, capable Christian disciple?
NEXT Time: What is your map for godly Family Life?