The Symptoms Of Spiritual Immaturity

The Symptoms Of Spiritual Immaturity

Though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.
–Hebrews 5:12

How do you know if you are spiritually immature? Notice the symptoms in Hebrews 5:12-13.

The first symptom of spiritual immaturity is a lack of development. The writer said, “Though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God.” He was saying, “Considering how long you have been a Christian, you ought to be at a certain place in your spiritual growth, but you are not.” You know, if you take a baby to the pediatrician and the doctor examines that baby, how can the doctor tell whether the baby is doing okay? There are some norms by which doctors evaluate babies: weight, height, and other vital signs. Every baby is different, but there are established norms. For example, if a five-year-old weighs 15 pounds, something is desperately wrong. That is what the writer was saying. He was saying to these Hebrew Christians, “You have been saved for many years, yet you are just like babies. You haven’t grown any. You need somebody to teach you the elementary principles.” That phrase “elementary principles” means the ABCs. They needed somebody to go back to the basics with them, and that should not be true.

Another symptom of spiritual immaturity is a restricted diet. The writer said, “You have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant” (5:12-13). Now, there is nothing wrong with milk. Milk is great for a baby. But if the baby is going to grow, there comes a time when he has to move away from milk and go to meat and other solids. Some people confuse ignorance with spiritual maturity. They think because they like simple sermons instead of “deep” ones, somehow they are more genuine and authentic as Christians. No. The inability to digest some of the deeper things of God’s Word is a sign of spiritual immaturity. It is a sign that we need to grow in our faith.

You may say, “I haven’t developed as a Christian as I should. I am sluggish spiritually. I’m not able to appreciate or take in the deeper things of God’s Word. What can I do to remedy that situation?” In Hebrews 5:14, we find the answers to spiritual immaturity. The writer said, “Solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.” There are two changes you need to make if you want to grow spiritually. One is a change of diet. You eventually have to move from milk, the simple things of God’s Word, to meat. And that is only possible when you make a second commitment: to exercise spiritually. When the writer said “because of practice,” he was talking about spiritual exercise–applying God’s Word to your life, differentiating between good and evil. He was also talking about finding a place of spiritual service where you are not only taking in God’s Word, but you are also giving it out.

***

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.