Babies. Everyone loves them. They can melt the heart of the hardest man. When parents get together we recall the circumstances of our children’s births, reliving the anxious moments as well as the humorous ones.
When our children were small we wanted the best for them and we wanted them to achieve their dreams when they grew up. We sometimes dreamed for them and often our dreams weren’t the dreams they wanted to pursue – but we would back them anyway and support their dreams. We want our children to grow up and to be the best that they can be, both in their chosen profession and (hopefully) even more in their dedication to Jesus.
But what if our children didn’t grow up? What if they remained babies? Although everyone loves babies, we recognise that there is something wrong if babies don’t begin to grow. And as much as we loved our baby, we realise the necessity of their growing up if they are to become the people that we have so much hope for. If our babies weren’t growing we would recognise that there was a problem and take them to our doctor and even specialists to discover the problem in preventing their development. We would recognise that if something wasn’t done – and done quickly – that our beautiful baby’s life could be in danger.
This is the circumstance that the Hebrew writer addresses at the end of chapter 5, only he wasn’t talking about physical development, but a person’s spiritual development.
“About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil” (Hebrews 5:11-14 ESV).
Christians, too, must grow up. When someone becomes a Christian they are like a baby. Like babies, they need the appropriate food. Peter refers to this as “pure spiritual milk” (1 Peter 2:2). The Hebrew writer called it the “basic principles of the oracles of God.”
Yet there are some Christians who never move beyond the basics. When lessons that challenge them to grow are presented they complain: “we want to hear lessons on baptism.” When lessons that dig deep into the truths of God’s word are on offer, they complain that they can’t understand them.
The problem is not God’s word. The problem is that they have continued to live on milk and, because of this, they are not able to handle the solid food we find in the word of God.
What is the solution? The Hebrew writer makes mention of two things. 1) They need to be taught again the basic principles. This needs to include the need to read, study, and grow. 2) We need to put into practice what we learn from God’s word so that we can train our “powers of discernment” to be able to tell right from wrong.
Do we know God’s word? Do we spend time each day learning more that God has revealed to us? The only way to grow spiritually is to know God’s word. There is no other way. If we want to be all that we can be for Jesus, we need to invest time in what he has revealed to us.
Readings for next week:
20 October – Hebrews 12
21 October – Hebrews 13
22 October – Mark 1
23 October – Mark 2
24 October – Mark 3