When a baby is born the natural progression is growth and development. Sometimes that doesn’t happen. Sadly some babies fail to thrive. ‘Failure to thrive’ is defined as a; “decelerated or arrested physical growth . . . , and is associated with abnormal growth and development. The reason for failure to thrive is inadequate nutrition.” Babies need nourishment to grow.
Born again Christians have a spiritual need for nourishment as well. The apostle Peter exhorts us; “Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.” (1 Peter 2:1-3) Living a holy lifestyle is a matter of choice but maturing in the faith is the necessity that makes this choice possible.
The apostle Paul confronted the Corinthian church for their failure to thrive. It was their immaturity that was the problem; “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, 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?” (1 Corinthians 3:1-3) We can be ‘born again’ and then fail to thrive in our Christian life if we don’t mature by taking in God’s Word and growing spiritually.
The Bible exhorts us to grow and mature spiritually; “Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about cleansing rites, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so.” (Hebrews 6:1-3) Maturing isn’t an option for the Christian; “We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.” (v 11,12) A ‘baby’ Christian can’t inherit what was meant for an adult.
Immature Christians don’t have the capacity to live a holy life because they cannot distinguish the righteousness of holiness from their own wicked self-righteousness; “Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” (Hebrews 5:13,14) Holiness takes practice living the Word on a daily basis, taught and corrected by the Holy Spirit.
Maturity and spiritual discernment go hand in hand; “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 1:14)
We all need to grow up!