You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature… Hebrews 5:12-14
I can clearly and painfully remember being treated as a child. I had been acting as a child, blind to consequences with no ability to say no to the impulses of self. In treatment, I was suddenly reduced to a child with little freedom and few choices. I needed a giant, adult time out. I got it. I had refused to act like a grown up and I suffered the consequences.
Children are cute as children. Watching adults act like children is just painful.
These verses address those who should be all grown up, but are still acting like children. When we first believe, we are given a new spirit life. We start out as infants with little knowledge and immature behavior. Just as in our physical life however, we are to grow and develop. Eventually, we are to move on from baby food to big people food. Our thoughts and our behavior are to grow and change into adult-like behavior.
For many of us however, our growth is arrested and we remain suspended in a state of perpetual childhood. We lack self-restraint and cannot see five minutes into the future. Thus, we never move beyond the infantile impulses to feed our own appetites. We are hopelessly focused on self and therefore cannot pursue God. Faith remains an abstract concept for which our brains are not yet developed, for faith requires focus on God, not self. In our childish thinking, we spend all our energies on the pursuit of self.
How then do I grow up? It is in daily, simple, but not necessarily easy, decisions. I start with feeding myself God’s word before anything else every morning. I choose daily to take steps to focus on God instead of self. I listen to God and I talk to God. If I want to grow up in my relationship with God, I need to work at that relationship.
God, in his infinite wisdom, does not force us to grow up in this spirit life. He allows us to sow the seeds of our own flesh or to sow the seeds of the spirit. We can wallow in our diapers or we can grow up and have the life we were meant to live.