Time to Grow Up

by Pastor Kevin Sadler

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“And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able” (1 Cor. 3:1-2).

When we trust Christ as our personal Savior, we undergo “regeneration” (Titus 3:5) or new birth. At that point, we are babes in Christ. There is joy when one is saved and born into the family of God, but there is sorrow, and rightfully so, when one remains a babe and doesn’t grow spiritually. The Corinthians were failing to grow in Christ, and this grieved the heart of Paul. He longed for that joy of watching babes in Christ, whom he had led to the Lord, “henceforth be no more children…and…grow up into Him in all things, which is the Head, even Christ” (Eph. 4:14-15).

Natural babies and “babes in Christ” have similar characteristics. Babies are dependent and unable to feed themselves. They often get into trouble and make a mess. They need to be watched closely and demand a lot of time and attention. They have no control and no concern for others. They fuss, cry, and want their way. These are natural things that are typical and expected of babies, but when believers like the Corinthians, who were no longer new to the faith, exhibited characteristics like this, something was wrong, and it was time for them to grow up.

Paul pointed out to the Corinthians, “I have fed you with milk, and not with meat.” The Word of God is our spiritual food. We receive spiritual nourishment through taking in God’s Word by reading, studying, and hearing it taught. Just as much as we need physical nourishment to live and grow, we need spiritual nourishment through the regular intake of God’s Word to live and grow.

Like newborns, babes in Christ begin with milk. The milk of the Word “be the first principles of the oracles of God” (Heb. 5:12), or the elementary things of God’s Word. As newborns grow, however, they need solid food. So it should be with babes in Christ that, as they grow, they should begin taking in the meat of the Word and be able to receive “the deep things of God” (1 Cor. 2:10).

God calls each believer to grow and mature in Christ by His Word (2 Tim. 3:16-17). And when it comes to our spiritual growth, we should never think that we’ve arrived. “When Pablo Casals reached 95, a young reporter threw him a question: ‘Mr. Casals, you are 95 and the greatest cellist that ever lived. Why do you still practice six hours a day?’ And Mr. Casals answered, ‘Because I think I’m making progress.’”1 May we never stop making progress in God’s Word rightly divided!

1. “Making Progress,” February 2, 2009, https://bible.org/illustration/making-progress.

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