From Milk To Solid Food
by Timothy A. Southall
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A while back, a church leader told me that an individual who had been a Christian for many years was now maturing. As good as that sounded and as much as I would like to have believed it, the details I heard merely appeared to be the maturity which comes with normal aging--not the Christian maturity which is evident from the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Sadly, this problem of Christians not maturing spiritually is all too common, both in biblical times and today. Many congregations don't grow due to the effects of immaturity. Consequently, they are not effective in their communities when they become known for their internal quarreling, unrighteousness, and members' sinful lives.

Hebrews 5:13-14In Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, he told them he had to address them as worldly and not as Christians, because they were mere infants in Christ (1 Corinthians 3:1). He compared their spirituality as to that of an infant. Consequently he gave them "milk" or elementary teachings because they weren't ready for "solid food" or mature teachings. Instead of progressing in their spirituality, they were still worldly. There was jealousy and quarreling within the church; they were acting like mere men (1 Corinthians 3:2-3).

In his letter to the Hebrews, Paul told them they should be teachers by then, yet they still needed someone to teach them the elementary truths all over again. These Christians needed milk like infants, because they were not acquainted with the teachings about righteousness. Paul further instructed solid food is for the mature who, by obedience, train themselves to know good from evil (Hebrews 5:11-14).

Peter wrote to those scattered among the nations (1 Peter 1:1) that they were to rid themselves of all malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. He told them to act like newborn babies and crave pure spiritual milk. By doing this, they would grow up in their salvation (1 Peter 2:1-3).

  Once a Christian has grasped the elementary teachings, he can begin feeding on the "solid food" or more mature and spiritual teachings. One who is maturing will walk a path away from sin with the help of the Holy Spirit. If one lives by the Spirit, he can leave the sinful nature behind and grow spiritually past the elementary teachings. The sinful nature and the Holy Spirit have desires which are contrary to each other (Galatians 5:16-17). The sinful nature is obvious. It includes sexual immorality, hatred, discord, jealousy, selfish ambition, and envy, just to name a few (Galatians 5:19-20). Mature Christians live by the Spirit of God and have the fruit of the Spirit including love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). Those who belong to Christ have crucified the sinful nature (Galatians 5:24). If one lives by the Spirit, he must keep in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5:25). So doing prevents conceit, and provoking and envying one another (Galatians 5:26).

Because the Bible admonishes us to grow in Christ (2 Peter 3:18), we should be careful to evaluate ourselves against the standard of God's Word. How mature are you spiritually? Jesus said that we are identified by our fruit (Matthew 7:15-20). Do your fruits indicate that you are still a spiritual infant or have you matured in Christ? Just as in physical life, maturing is not an overnight process. Rather, it is a gradual, progressive one. If you are not maturing and feeding upon "solid food," then now is the time to work toward that goal. Let the Spirit of God lead your life. To mature in Christ, we must go from milk to solid food.
To Mature As A Christian

Copyright © 2000 Timothy A. Southall. All rights reserved.