Midweek Lifeline: Quit Childishness, Go Onto Maturity!


Midweek Lifeline: Quit Childishness, Go Onto Maturity!

By Gerald Inyang

“For when for the time you ought to be teachers, you have need that on 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” – Hebrews 5:12.
Life is in stages. Babies when they are born are so tender and fragile, that we must carry them with care so as not to get their necks injured or arms broken. That tender baby grows and eventually begins to seat by himself or herself. The baby begins to crawl and then attains some physical balance to stand by himself, walk and eventually runs around the house and the playground at school. Hence the once tender and “fragile” baby becomes the nursery school pupil, then a teenager, a youth and fully matures to an adult. These levels of growth highlighted are necessary for a baby to become a matured man or woman. When the baby cannot grow or remains a child longer than expected, then something is wrong and they become a concern for the parents, doctors, neighbours, and the society at large. As this is true physically, it also holds true spiritually and we must note that our relationship with God is subject to growth and there is a state of maturity and a necessity for us to grow unto maturity.

The scripture text in Hebrews 5 verse 12 brings to our attention God’s expectation for us as regards growing unto spiritual maturity. We must not remain as babies or children in faith, but we must go unto maturity in Christ. Incidentally, this matter of spiritual maturity is not determined by the number of years we have been Christians, but on our passion and commitment to God. Hebrews 5:12-14 shows us the characteristics of those who remain as babies even after so many years of professing faith in Christ. Just as a physical baby has limitations to their ability to understand and respond to situations around them, so the scripture also lets us know that babies in the faith are those who are unskillful in the word of God. Our level of understanding of the word of God shows our maturity or immaturity. Babes in Christ therefore have their spiritual senses dull and are unable to discern between good and evil; that which pleases God and what displeases Him. We can come out of this state by consciously engaging in the study of the word of God and praying for understanding by the help of the Holy Spirit. This is why we are admonished in 2nd Timothy 2: 15 to study the scripture, our Bible, in order to be able to apply it rightly to every situation of life. How skillful are you in the words of righteousness?

Another characteristics that shows immaturity and childishness among believers is the reliance on milk for nutrition because of inability to eat the meat of God’s word. This is the situation where we love the pampering we get from the sermons preached off the pulpit but are greatly offended when some hard hitting sermons are preached touching on things God wants us to correct in our lives. Breast milk is good enough nutrition for babies, but no one can keep surviving on that diet if they must mature to adulthood. Talk about what God can do for people and you will get the atmosphere of the church electrified, but talk about what God wants us to do and the whole place is quiet and sombre.

It is a sign of childishness to dance and jubilate during the praise and worship session only to sneak out of the church during the ministration of the word of God and prayers. This is the main reason why many Christians remain as perpetual students who cannot graduate to the level of teaching and instructing others in the way of the Lord. It is therefore not uncommon to see such people rising today and falling again to sin tomorrow. They keep repenting but are not resolute to stand for Christ.

A baby or childish Christian is therefore the one who is tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine. It will be observed that they may find it difficult to remain in a particular local church assembly, but keep moving from one congregation to another. A childish Christian lacks discernment and often falls prey to false doctrine and to the deception of false prophets and teachers. They are those with itching ears in search of preachers whose sermons suit their childish attitudes and satisfy their graving for milk rather than the diet for those growing in the Lord (2 Timothy 4:3). I have been saddened to see how some of such Christians eventually leave the church and stray into occult groups as Eckankar, the Rosicrucian cult, etc. God calls us today to come out of this childish state and to be firmly rooted in Him so we can grow unto maturity.

Apostle Paul made this confession in 1st Corinthians 13:11, “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things”. We see that there comes a time we must quit childishness. If you have found you have remained as a child in the Lord; without knowledge and understanding of scripture, ignorance of the will of God and how to live to please Him, swayed by all winds of doctrine, this is the time to do as Apostle Paul did. We need to deliberately put away childishness. You need to begin to engage in personal and private study of the word of God. You need to pay close attention to the ministry of the word of God in Bible study services where you can ask questions and get better understanding of the scripture. You may also enrol in Bible training school for the purpose of knowing God’s word and applying it to your everyday situations.

This is a call for all of us to quit childishness in faith and spirituality and press on to the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us put aside those characters and habits that hinder our growth in the Lord. Let us understand that there are things God wants to achieve through us, but it can only be when we have come to maturity. Just as precious treasures are not handed over to children who do not understand its value, so also can we not become those God can use to minister to our generations if we remain as babes. The heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ from a servant, though he is lord of all (Galatians 4:1). Quit childishness!

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