Obedience to God is an amazing thing. I have been on both sides of the coin. I have experienced blessing for being obedient and I have experienced consequences for not being obedient. I believe the goal, however, for every Christian is to become more obedient as we grow in our relationship with the Lord.
It’s similar to raising a child. When they are babies there isn’t much discipline to be done and we really don’t have any expectations. We are just enjoying this stage of newness. As a new believer, I think it’s similar to how God feels. He is just enjoying this newness of life that we have found in Christ. That is why babies only receive milk. They are not ready for more. I Peter 2:2: “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the Word, that ye may grow thereby.”
In other words, without the milk of God’s Word there can’t be growth. The intention, however, is that there IS growth. We don’t expect our children to remain babies forever. They have to grow and the same is true as a believer.
There is a source of frustration that can arise when children don’t begin to “grow up.” Sometimes we see children who appear to be greatly lagging in maturity. They are 5 years old and still walking around with a pacifier in their mouth—hopefully I have not offended anyone who has a 5 year old with a pacifier. My point is that growth is part of human development but it is also part of spiritual development.
I Corinthians 3:1-2, “Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as 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.”
Who wants to be on milk forever? If you are a parent, think of the first time you put something in your child’s mouth that wasn’t milk. Some of them probably spit it right back out. That’s like a believer who isn’t ready for something more than milk. They want to remain as an infant in Christ.
Then there are other babies who, although quite surprised at this new thing in their mouth, gobble it up. They are ready for more! They are ready for solid food. The same is true with believers. There will be some believers who are ready for more. As a believer, we SHOULD be ready for more. We should be CRAVING more.
Hebrews 5:12: “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.”
This is really sad if you think about it. Every single one of us ought to be a teacher of the Word of God. It doesn’t have to be formal, such as a Sunday school teacher or a preacher. We should all be equipped to share the good news and teach others. It could mean that you are a “teacher” in your neighborhood, in your workplace, with extended family or at your school. But the point is that we should all eventually arrive at that place where we are ready to teach others what we have learned. We shouldn’t be babies squalling away, kicking our legs and opening our mouths for more milk!
Still not convinced that you need to grow up? Look at the next verse after Hebrews 5:12: “For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe” (Hebrews 5:13).
If you are unskilled in the word of righteousness then you are not able to grow in obedience. Obedience is a really big deal to God. If you are a parent, you know that it’s a big deal for you. My children are now either a preteen or teens. If they were still acting the way they used to at 2 and 3 years old, there would be a serious problem.
So think about your spiritual walk. Are you still a babe in Christ? Have you been wearing diapers for too many years? Or are you more like a toddler, getting into things you shouldn’t and throwing fits when you don’t get your way? Perhaps you are more like a school-age child, who is just flitting through life, enjoying this time of childhood antics. Maybe you are more like a teenager, still trying to figure out who you are but finally beginning to break away from childhood. You have one foot in childhood but another foot moving toward adulthood.
Or are you a grown adult? Not only ready for solid food but tearing apart the meat of God’s Word? Do you dig into it like it’s the last time you will ever eat? This is the place God has for you. Are you ready to get there? Are you ready to grow up?