We have millions of believers who may have been saved decades ago, but are still acting like spiritual infants. They have not grown much, they have not progressed much in their walk with Christ, and their spiritual condition is rather anaemic and shallow.
They have not become genuine disciples in other words, and they are still stranded in a spiritual infancy. They can’t even handle the deep truths of God as revealed in Scripture. Indeed, many of them hardly even read their Bibles, barely pray, or engage in in-depth fellowship.
No wonder they are still floundering around as babies. They have not moved beyond the nursery. They are all stuck in day care. They are permanent residents of Christian kindergarten. Sadly this is so very widespread today in our churches.
As I said, there is a place for infancy. When you are a spiritual baby, then spiritual milk is of course quite appropriate. Peter speaks to this truth here: “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good” (1 Peter 2:2-3).
But all babies are meant to move on. No one wants to see a ten-year-old or twenty-year-old baby in the physical world. Nor is it fitting in the spiritual world. That is why Paul chews out the Corinthians in this regard. It is time for them to move on:
“Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly” (1 Corinthians 3:1-3).
The writer to the Hebrews makes the same case: “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. Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity” (Heb 5:11-6:1).
The question arises here: just whose fault is this? I would argue it is the fault of both individual Christians in the pews, and the pastors in the pulpits. Regardless of what is being taught from the pulpits, believers have a responsibility for their own personal growth and development. They cannot blame the pastor or the church for their own unwillingness to take the necessary steps to achieve genuine spiritual growth.
We all know that regular reading of the Word, regular prayer times, and regular times of corporate fellowship and worship are essential in the spiritual development of any believer. Without taking the basic and essential steps of growth and discipleship, we will remain spiritual pygmies.
And far too many Christians feed only on spiritual junk food. Instead of proper Christian nourishment the regular diet of many is pop Christianity. Books about being a better you, having a nice self-image, and even losing weight for Jesus, make up far too many reading lists of emaciated believers today.
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