Growing up is hard to do on our own; we all need to be fed and nourished not only physically but spiritually. In 1 Corinthians chapter 3, Paul is talking to believers about their spiritual development. They’ve been saved long enough to be mature in Christ, but act more like babies. They’re underdeveloped, malnourished, and very unskilled (Hebrews 5:13 – For every one that useth milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.) I believe this is one of the main reasons why the world sometimes views Christians as hypocrites. One can hardly tell the difference between them and an unsaved person.
How do we tell if a person is still a babe in Christ? What are some of the characteristics that permeate through their lives? We know that babies want their own way and will holler until they get it or get our attention. They don’t like to share their toys and expect mommy or daddy to be at their beck and call every moment. We’re to feed them, change their diaper, bathe them, cuddle them, sing to them, and even rock them to sleep. And in the middle of the night if they feel like letting out a scream, we’re to come running with bottle in hand. They don’t like it when others have our attention, and want it all for themselves. Ever talk on the phone? What happens? They’re right there asking a question.
On the other hand a babe in Christ also likes to be fed, but not with meat, they’re still drinking milk and have not yet learned how to chew and swallowing solid food. They want the Pastor to feed them until they feel they are full and don’t need anymore. They also want him to be at their beck and call no matter what time of the day or night it is. They need to be cuddled when things don’t go right, and can cause strife and division among the believers if they’re not. They envy those who are serving and seem to always have a critical tongue, always have something to say to get other believers thinking and wondering as they do, thus causing division in the church. The unsaved see them as one of them, no change in their life since they became a Christian, and even some Christians question their conversion. Their language is the same, their habits are the same, their friends are the same, their clothes are the same, and the places they hang out are still the same. The only thing that has changed is they now go to church maybe once a week, sometimes twice and of course on special occasions.
Paul calls them carnal, because they are not able to get into the meat of God’s word and bear it. They still walk in the old nature…the flesh, and have not yet allowed the Holy Spirit to control their lives. A babe in Christ will never grow unless he or she is fed by the Word of God personally and on a daily basis.
In Hebrews 5:14 it talks about the mature Christian, the one of “full age” spiritually. “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.” A baby cannot tell the difference between right and wrong, unless guided by his parents. They don’t know when something is not good for them and usually will get hurt, sometimes to the point of death. To become a mature Christian it involves time. (1) We are to spend time in the Bible. (2) It involves growth – we are to grow in the knowledge of God’s word. (3) We’re to be discerners – we are to be able to discern between good and evil. In 2 Timothy 2:15 it says we’re to Study – Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
So time spent, knowledge absorbed, and being able to discern between good and evil are characteristics of a Christian who is growing and maturing in the Lord. Yet not just that, they need to be able to apply what God is teaching them to their own lives. Now does that mean they have arrived? No, by all means, they must continually strive to ever be learning, ever be teachable, and ever be applying the Word of truth, until the day the Lord takes them home.
Copyright © 2009 Dawn K. Smith, September 9