Imagine the scene…Your 25 year old able-bodied son comes over for dinner. You’re excited to have him visit. He sits down at the table. As he recounts his day you cut the steak and vegetables on his plate into small pieces. You pick up the fork and begin to feed him, bite by bite, wiping his mouth often. Then you pick up his sippy cup and give him a drink. Does this scene sound familiar in your house? I certainly hope not! And yet metaphorically, it gets played out over and over in the church.
We Have to Learn to Feed Ourselves
Recently I shared about the baby birds I watched grow up in a nest under the eaves of my home. (Read it here) The newborn babies were frequently fed by their parents. As the baby birds grew and matured they learned to use their wings to fly. Then they learned how to hunt for food and feed themselves on a daily basis. They have now left the nest and someday soon they will likely have their own babies. The adult birds will be responsible to feed themselves and their little ones until the new babies mature and the cycle is repeated.
This model can be likened to our spiritual journey. When we’re new believers we are often fed much of our biblical truth by others, not having our own solid foundation to stand on. Then slowly we learn to feed ourselves through reading the Bible, prayer, service, worship, and remaining in Jesus (John 15). As we become more mature it is still good, helpful and encouraging for others to teach us but we mostly “feed ourselves” from our own time seeking God. If we want a truly vibrant relationship with God, we have to remain in Him daily…not just one hour a week on Sunday mornings. Ideally, as we grow and mature we should be taking someone else under our wing as a disciple to help them to grow, like Jesus did.
But sometimes we get stuck in the spiritual “baby stage”. All we want is for someone else to feed us, pray for us, tell us what we should do, tell us what the Bible says. It seems easier that way because we don’t have to be fully responsible for ourself and our decisions. As one blogger put it, Babies are immature physically and mentally, but we expect them to develop. If they don’t, there is a problem. The same is true for followers of Jesus. We are supposed to be maturing in our spiritual walk, becoming more like Jesus. How can we do that if we don’t really even know what the Bible says? If we’re constantly relying on others to meet our basic spiritual needs? Paul admonished the “infantile” Hebrews:
“By this time you ought to be teachers yourselves, yet here I find you need someone to sit down with you and go over the basics on God again, starting from square one—baby’s milk, when you should have been on solid food long ago! Milk is for beginners, inexperienced in God’s ways; solid food is for the mature, who have some practice in telling right from wrong.”(Hebrews 5:12-14)
It’s Time to Put on Your Big Kid Pants
Here’s the thing….we need you! The church needs you and the world needs you. If you stay spiritually immature you aren’t living out the potential God created in you. God gave you a particular personality and gifts to glorify Him and reach out to others. We need your gifts, your wisdom, your maturity. We need you to be healthy in your marriage, modeling to your kids what God teaches, living out the wisdom of God’s words in your life, helping others to grow more like Jesus, sharing the good news of eternal life.
This week let’s begin doing the things we need to do in order to grow and mature spiritually so we can fully be who God created us to be and bring as much glory to Him as we possibly can! I encourage you to spend time daily reading the Bible, praying, listening for God’s voice, worshiping Him, serving others. As we do these things we will be encouraged and we will also find that we are automatically growing spiritually, just like a branch connected to the Vine.