I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ.
–1 Corinthians 3:1
“Dear Ann Landers: I’m an attractive 23-year-old woman with a great job, money in the bank, and a wonderful fiancé. . . . When I’m feeling really stressed or tired, I dress and act like a baby. I have adult-size diapers, rubber pants, baby pajamas, etc. I put these on, feed myself baby food from a jar and drink juice from a bottle. Then I fall asleep with a pacifier and a ‘blankie.’ . . .
“I know I can’t keep it from my fiancé forever. I just can’t muster the courage to tell him, and I’m desperate for help. Please advise. Signed, Twenty-Three-Year-Old Baby in Ohio.”
There is something humorous about the thought of a grown person dressed in a baby bonnet and shaking a rattle. It is a pretty funny picture–except when it happens in the church. When people who should be grown spiritually act like spiritual babies, the result is tragic, not only for the individual Christian but for the church as well. And it is the problem of spiritually stunted Christians that Paul addressed in the passage we are going to study this week.
In 1 Corinthians 3, Paul said there are two kinds of Christians: spiritually mature believers and carnal Christians. The carnal Christian is a slave to his old desires, his old habits, his old way of life because he never grows beyond the baby stage as a Christian. He resembles a non-Christian in both his actions and his attitudes. As commentator William Barclay wrote, “[His] interests and aims do not go beyond physical life.” Everything about his existence is centered in this world. Paul referred to him as a fleshly believer.
Do you know Christians like that? They cannot maintain any spiritual discipline in their life. They have no interest in reading the Bible, no interest in praying, no interest in sharing the gospel. Going to church is a chore. They are very self-centered–just like a baby, they can only think of themselves. They throw temper-tantrums in the church whenever they do not get their way. They are carnal. They are fleshly.
Paul had a strong word of rebuke for the church at Corinth and for us today. Because to be a carnal Christian is not acceptable before God.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Baby Talk” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2010.
“She’s Worried over Her Urge to Be Babied,” Ask Ann Landers, “Chicago Tribune,” October 26, 1995, https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-1995-10-26-9510260041-story.html; William Barclay, “The Letters to the Corinthians,” The New Daily Study Bible (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2002), 35.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.