Newborn babies receive milk from their mothers. It is food that has already been digested, filtered and repackaged in an easily digestible form for those whose digestive systems are immature and are not fully ready to receive solid food and break it down for themselves. Solid food has to be introduced later gradually as the young infant’s system is able to break down complex chunks of food and utilize the nutrients for growth.
Paul speaks about the symptoms of immaturity in the body of Christ throughout the book of I Corinthians:
I Corinthians 3:1-3 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 (link – milk), not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans? (NIV)
To grow up in Christ takes time, the Word, and practice. In Romans, God shows us the the beautiful wholeness we have in Jesus Christ. What God wrought in Christ is the foundation of our believing and as we believe we, have the completeness and assurance that only God can give. The wisdom and understanding of God’s heart is given to us and we become more and more seasoned in that assurance. We exhibit that confidence in our relationships with others. We grow up.
In Corinthians, we can read about the failure to practice that which has been set out in Romans. It is a reproof epistle, so things like, quarreling, jealousies, following one man over another, division and several other things are addressed. If we look at Christianity today, we cannot help but wonder what God thinks of so many denominations, non-denominations and organizations who claim to be the body of Christ. Honestly, religion seems very divisive. We all recognize this.
The subject of maturity in God’s word is a topic in Hebrews 5:12-14:
For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat (Link – meat). For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
When we get to the place where we take on the responsibility to work the Word for ourselves and not just sheepishly (baa!) accept somebody else’s pre-digested material without even thinking about it, we grow. It is not wrong to have teachers, but not to the end we become spiritual hitchhikers and passively accept infant pablum. As we practice the Word in our lives we learn to exercise discretion and biblical perception in handling life’s situations. That is when we, ourselves, become good teachers.