We expect different behaviors from different people. If a person runs on wobbly legs, falls down, gets up, runs again, falls down again, and continues the process, our reaction is completely different based on the person’s age. If it is a toddler learning to walk, we love it. We applaud. WE voice words of encouragement, “You’re getting so big!” But if it is a 25 year old with no physical disability, we immediately want to know what is wrong.
In the life of a believer, there is a different standard for what we should expect of a person based on their spiritual age. If a person has just become a believer, we do not expect them to be able to recount for us a systematic theology. WE are happy if they grasp the gospel of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. We are happy if they know that the Bible is the word of God, trustworthy and authoritative for all of life. And when they make mistakes in their thinking or reasoning regarding Christian truth, we are gentle in helping them along.
But what about the person who should be growing in faith? What about the one who should be mature? What about the one who has been a believer for years and is still walking like a toddler when it comes to biblical truth?
Hebrews 5:11-14- 11 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, 13 for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. 14 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 author of Hebrews says that he wants to share some deep and powerful spiritual truths with the Hebrews, but he can’t. They are not ready. Though they should be ready, they have not worked to grow in their understanding of the faith. Their knowledge is lacking. Their ability to distinguish good from evil is lacking. They have continued to eat baby food when they should have progressed, and it leaves them at a disadvantage.
Christians, milk is fine for babies. But milk is not the diet of a grown-up. And if you are a believer, know that God wants you to grow up. That means that you cannot sit still in your learning. You cannot slack off on your discipleship. You should be studying. You should be reading. You should be listening to good teaching. You should be challenging your intellect. You should be shaping your thinking more and more to match the word of God. You should never think you know enough. And you should be giving yourself to growth for the good of your soul and the glory of God.
How do you grow? Sit under good teaching. Read good books. Have deep conversations about hard things. Stop choosing to do the minimum. Stop choosing to settle for fluff. Connect with a strong church where the word is faithfully taught and where people are involved in one another’s lives. Do not make excuses for why you can’t learn, just battle to know and to grow and to obey.