Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation.
–1 Peter 2:2
Sometimes in our churches we equate ignorance with spirituality. One man in a previous church told me, “I don’t want to have to think when I come to church.” A lot of Christians say, “I do not want to hear all this deep stuff from the Bible. Just tell me the old, old story.” That is not a sign of spiritual maturity. It is a sign of spiritual immaturity that you have to keep hearing the same thing over and over again. The basic truth about Jesus dying for our sins is a great foundational truth, but there is more to the faith than that. That is the starting place, not the ending place.
In Hebrews 5:11, the writer said his audience could not handle the truth because they had become dull of hearing. It is not natural for a Christian to become sluggish in his faith. There is a process that leads you to the way of maturity. As 1 Peter 2:2 says, “Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation.” Just as a baby longs for milk, it is natural for a Christian to long for the truth of God’s Word.
How does a Christian become dull of hearing, spiritually sluggish? Let me suggest two ways. One way is through a lack of nourishment. About 3:30 every afternoon, I start to have a sinking spell because the blood sugar is going down. So I eat some microwave popcorn and start to feel better again. A lack of nourishment spiritually can also make you sluggish. Secondly, a lack of spiritual exercise can make you spiritually sluggish. I try to have a routine of running most mornings, but last week I was out of the town so I did not do it. But guess what? Tomorrow morning, I am going to get on that treadmill. As soon as I climb on it, I know how I am going to feel. It is going to be hard to get the momentum up and to start running again because I am out of the habit. A lack of exercise can make you sluggish.
One way we exercise spiritually is by getting involved in spiritual service. But the exercise the writer had in mind is the exercise of applying God’s Word to your life. So many people get in the habit of hearing God’s Word presented but not applying it to their life. And they are able to rationalize why they don’t do that. They will sit in a sermon and say, “This one is not for me today.” Or they will concentrate on what they do not like about the messenger–a pastor, a Sunday school teacher–rather than what the messenger is saying. People develop the habit of not listening and not being moved by the Word of God, and they become slow of hearing.
The writer of Hebrews warned over and over again, “Do not harden your heart.” The fact is, you can harden your heart against God. And when you do that, you fall into a habit of not listening to God and eventually falling away from the faith. The problem of spiritual immaturity stems from a lack of the right spiritual nutrition and spiritual exercise.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “From Here To Maturity” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2018.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.