There is a reason why babies drink milk and don’t eat solid food; they can’t swallow yet. There is a reason why children shouldn’t be left alone with scissors, knives or other sharp objects; they don’t know how to handle these. There is a reason why teenagers can’t own a house; they are not ready for the responsibilities that come with it. In order for us to do the above, we need to grow first and become mature. We can’t skip the baby, child, or teenager phases because that’s just how the growth process goes. Growth is defined as the process of developing physically, mentally or spiritually. In fact, without growth, you fall into stagnation, which means you’re not moving forward. I believe we all want to move forward in life and we can only do this by growing. Irrelevant of the aspect in life, growth has the same pattern: it starts with infancy and ends with maturity.
In the Bible apostle Paul speaks about spiritual infancy. “Dear brothers and sisters, when I was with you I couldn’t talk to you as I would to spiritual people. I had to talk as though you belonged to this world or as though you were infants in Christ. I had to feed you with milk, not with solid food, because you weren’t ready for anything stronger. And you still aren’t ready, for you are still controlled by your sinful nature. … Doesn’t that prove that you are controlled by your sinful nature?” (1 Corinthians 3:1-3, NLT) Apostle Paul compares a ‘baby Christian’ to someone who belongs to this world. A baby Christian is someone who still needs to be fed with milk and can’t handle solid food yet. In other words, someone who is still a baby in Christ cannot handle much, therefore that person cannot be left on his or her own. Just like every baby needs to grow into an adult, so every baby Christian has to grow into a mature Christian.
A key player in growth is food. In many Third World countries children’s growth is being hindered by the lack of food and nutrients. If you are reading this, you have access to the internet and I assume you are also blessed to have access to food and your physical growth is not (really) being hindered. As Christians, if we want to grow, we need to be fed with our Daily Bread, the Word of God. The more we are being fed solid food and the more we’re growing, the less dependent we become on the ones who feed us milk (pastors, etc.) and we start to become more independent in the sense that we start to feed ourselves with the Word of God. It is when we stop feeding ourselves that we stop growing. What happens next is stagnation; we’re not developing anymore, we’re remaining at the same place. “You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. … Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognise the difference between right and wrong”(Hebrews 5:12,14b; NLT). Sometimes we feel like we should have been further in life. Sometimes it feels like we’re doing the same things others are doing, but we’re not seeing the same progress. Maybe it’s time to check our spiritual growth. Are we ready for solid food or do we still need to be fed? Can we start our own relationship with God and take care of it or do we still need to rely on our pastor’s relationship with God to help us through?
If your life seems to be at a halt and you’re not going anywhere; you’re not eating enough. As you keep feeding yourself spiritually with the Word of God, you’re allowing your spirit to grow. My Sunday school teacher taught me a song that said ‘Read your Bible and pray every day if you want to grow’. I never thought about the meaning of the song as a kid, but now I see that we need these things to grow spiritually in life.
Life moves on with or without us. If we want to move along, we ought to follow the necessary steps and take the necessary nutrients. God can’t use babies to do His work, He needs mature people.