Who doesn't love a good steak? Everyone in our family loves steak! Whether it is a nice juicy fillet or ribeye, the Martin family will not discriminate regarding our carnivorous appetites. But, our children have not always liked the succulent flavor of a nice warm piece of meat. When our children were younger, we would feed them baby food because they were not able to chew thick cuts of beef. As our children grew older, they switched from baby food to solid food.
11 We have a great deal to say about this, and it is difficult to explain, since you have become too lazy to understand. 12 Although by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the basic principles of God’s revelation again. You need milk, not solid food. 13 Now everyone who lives on milk is inexperienced with the message about righteousness, because he is an infant. 14 But solid food is for the mature—for those whose senses have been trained to distinguish between good and evil (Heb. 5:11-14).
In Hebrews 5:11-14, the author warns his readers about the failure of becoming spiritually mature. It is sad that some believers never grow out of the infancy stage of their spiritual life. Since we are at the beginning of a new year, what better time to focus on one’s spiritual growth? There are no shortcuts to becoming a spiritually mature believer. If your 2022 goal is to become a stronger Christian, then strive to grow in your personal relationship with the Lord in the following ways. There are at least three activities that will help you grow into a mature believer.
First, read and study the Bible. In Hebrews 5:11, our author tells us that his audience did not want to listen to gospel truths that others had shared with them. The book of Hebrews warns us about neglecting God’s Word (Heb. 2:1-4, 3:7-4:13, 5:11-6:12, 10:19-39, 12:14-29). For 2022, find a Bible reading plan and stick with it. Just google this phrase: Bible reading plan. You find many online helps that will give you a template for reading and finishing your Bible within the year. Check out some of these plans from Ligonier Ministries (https://www.ligonier.org/posts/bible-reading-plans).
Second, make a plan for spiritual growth. Is there a particular sin that you struggle with? Is there a particular character flaw that you would like to work on in 2022? There are many helpful Christian books that can help you grow in your spiritual life. In Hebrews 5:12-13, our author mentions that immature believers are not growing in their faith. In 2022, set aside 15-20 minutes and read your Bible and then read a chapter in a book that will help you become a spiritually stronger believer.
Third, become a teacher. If you have been growing in your relationship with the Lord in the last year or two, find someone and disciple them. In Hebrews 5:12 and 5:14, the author encourages his readers to become someone who is mature in their faith. A mature believer is someone who has been trained to distinguish between good and evil (vs. 14). How can a believer distinguish between good and evil? A great place to start is by reading God's Word. First, read a chapter or two of the Bible with someone. Find someone who would be willing to read the Bible with you and take them to lunch. Maybe you can even pay for their lunch. Who doesn't love a free meal, right? Second, find a good Christian book and meet with one or two people each week and discuss one chapter each week. This is my favorite method of discipleship because I love to read books. Maybe you can meet your students for lunch at a local restaurant. Or, you can invite your students to your home and disciple them in the evening. In the Great Commission, Jesus calls his followers to make disciples. In 2022, commit to making disciples by mentoring one or two people.
Many people desire to be a Christian but do not want all the responsibility and accountability that comes with being a follower of Christ. But, to become a mature believer in the faith, one must put their relationship with the Lord first, before any other relationship. Those who fail to grow in spiritual maturity really do harm to themselves and others. Let us take care to not remain as children in our faith, as those who need milk. Rather, let us grow into mature believers of the faith - nourished by the solid food of God’s Word.