Basics of Spiritual Maturity
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. (Heb. 5:13-14)
More and more I come across Christians who have been believers for years and yet have never been given basic discipleship instructions. The result is that they flounder in their faith, struggling to grow in their sanctification, never moving beyond infantile Christian maturity. They have been walking with the Lord for years, and yet they live as though they got saved just last week. Thus, today and over the next four days, my daily thoughts will cover some basic discipleship principles. And it’s not complicated or difficult to grow in one’s sanctification. There are really only four basic principles to follow. Like the four basic food groups (meat, grains, dairy, fruits/vegetables) which keep our physical bodies healthy when consumed in a balanced manner, so also there are four basic spiritual food groups which need to be taken in equal proportions to keep our souls spiritually healthy and growing. These are God’s word, prayer, fellowship, and serving. We will talk about each of these over the next four days, but the basic premise is this, when God saves us, when we become born again, we are given new life (John 3:3-8). Like a newborn babe, we need to eat in order to feed our souls and grow healthy and strong. But we also need to eat a well-balanced diet. An infant who is only given milk and is never eventually introduced to proteins, grains, fruits, vegetables, etc., will not grow healthy and will not survive very long. So also, the baby Christian who only engages in one of the four basic spiritual food groups, to the neglect of the other three, will not be spiritually healthy and will never reach spiritual maturity. This is what the author if Hebrews discusses when he writes, “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” (5:12-14). It is fine to start with milk as baby Christians, but eventually it is necessary to move on from that in order to reach full spiritual maturity.
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