There are some Christians that long to grow deeper in the faith. To learn the deep things of scripture that go beyond the simple gospel message. The question is, “Are they ready for it?”
The audience that was reading this letter to the Hebrews apparently wasn’t.
The writer tells them,
We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. 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! (5:11-12)
What does he mean by milk? He tells us in chapter 6. It’s things like repentance from sin, the importance of faith, Christian baptism in contrast perhaps to Jewish washing rituals, the laying on of hands, perhaps in reference to receiving the Holy Spirit, and to resurrection and judgment.
All these things our basic to our Christian faith. We need to know them. But they are just a starting point. A starting point to what? A starting point to being made complete and whole.
And that means going beyond hearing the message, but having it become practical in your life. To truly trusting that God loves you and that his way is best. To believing we are really dead to sin now, and are called to live a new life in Jesus as new creations. To loving God so much for what he has done, that our actions, our thoughts, and our very lives are colored by that love.
In short, we put away sin by the power of the Spirit who works in us, and put on righteousness becoming more and more like Christ each day.
That’s what maturity is. It isn’t simply knowing the Bible. It’s not simply knowing about the deep things of God. Maturity is becoming Christlike in every aspect of our lives. Put another way, maturity is becoming whole as people. It’s becoming the people that God intended us to be from the very beginning.
But immature people are still very much incomplete in their character. They still don’t even know what it means to be whole as people. The writer of Hebrews puts it this way,
Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. (5:13)
In contrast, he says about the mature,
But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. (5:14)
A truly mature person hears the Word of God and puts it into practice. And through that experience of putting the Word of God into practice, they learn what it means to be whole. They learn what things are truly good and what things are evil.
But many Christians are still slow to learn. The ESV puts it,
You have become dull of hearing. (5:11)
How does that happen? We hear God’s word, he pricks our heart to action, but we choose to do nothing. And in so doing we harden our hearts to him. And the more we do that, the less effect God’s Word has on our heart. The result? We remain broken, incomplete, and immature.
How about you? Are you a doer of the Word? Or do you merely a hearer of it?
God wants us to be whole and complete. But that will never happen as long as we continue to harden our hearts to him.
How mature are you?