Spiritual Maturity: Milk versus Solid Food
Spiritual maturity was an unattainable trait for a young girl like me – or so I thought. Through high school and into adulthood I was eager to learn. I would stay up late into the night studying for school and memorizing scripture. Continually I would soak up the knowledge provided by those much wiser and more mature than myself. I was always striving to improve and gain the approval of those above me.
Maturity became associated with someone who had all the answers. They were someone who spoke with confidence and inspired everyone around them. I had doubts I would ever acquire that level of confidence. How could I possibly match someone with so many years of experience? How did they do it? These were the questions that drove me to try harder and find “the answer.” I wanted to be better. I wanted to be important.
Paul Rebukes the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 3:1-23)
What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe – assigned to each his task.1 Corinthians 3:5
The Corinthians made the mistake of putting their trust in individual men. They began to argue among themselves about following the right apostle. The church became divided between those who followed Apollos and those who followed Paul. Their dispute exposed their lack of maturity. Paul demonstrates his maturity by holding them accountable.
It may seem like Paul has all the answers. He does speak with confidence and shows no hesitation about rebuking the Corinthians. His maturity, however is not demonstrated by his confidence. It is demonstrated by his humility.
Paul reminds the Corinthians that it is God who equips the apostles. God is the overseer and foundation of the church. Paul and Apollos are simply workers in the field. In other words, Paul is telling the Corinthians to take the apostles off pedestals.
The Corinthians were not ready to digest solid food because of their inability to understand the basic truth that only God deserves their allegiance.
Humble Teachings (Hebrews 5:11-6:3)
The Hebrews receive a similar rebuke about not being ready for solid food. The writer of Hebrews scolds them for no longer trying to understand God’s truth (6:11). In other words, they started getting lazy with their spiritual journey.
The passage indicates that these people had been followers of Christ for an extended period of time. They had the potential to be teachers of new converts, but they had regressed in their faith.
In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk not solid food!1 Corinthians 6:12
Perhaps they became too confident. Maybe they believed they had all the answers and there was nothing left to learn. Their confidence would have become a hinderance to their spiritual journey. They missed the basic truth that it is in God alone they should have put their confidence.
Spiritual maturity is not defined by knowledge, allegiance, or years claimed as a born-again-Christian. It is rather defined by our openness to God’s influence. Our willingness to learn and be guided by Him. While in high school I was still growing into my spiritual maturity. Like the Hebrews and Corinthians, I didn’t understand the basic truths. Spiritual maturity is not attained through human efforts alone, rather it is attained through surrender to God.
References and External Resources
NIV Study Bible (2011) Zondervan. Grand Rapids, MI.
What’s the Difference Between Milk and Solid Food for Christians from The Christian Post
Moving From Milk to Solid Food from Revive Our Hearts