Is there anything cuter than a chuckling new baby, happy, curious, and squealing with delight with every new toy? A baby exudes love, trust and dependence to everyone in the room, often being the centre of attention. How quickly do the laughs of joy and love turn to screams of hunger and frustration? Now that really gets everyone’s attention! A friend of mine had to carefully time her visits to shop when her baby was happiest and most content, because when he wasn’t happy, boy, did everyone hear about it! The writer of the book of Hebrews used the image of a baby drinking milk to teach about spiritual nourishment, to readers who needed God’s Word to mature them in the faith.
“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” (Hebrews 6:1-3 NKJV) Growing up in the church, I thought only older grownups could be ministers and Sunday School teachers, but the truth is, all Christians can be teachers to other believers; indeed, teaching another is a step towards spiritual maturity.
There are some funny animated films about adults suddenly transformed into babies, and we laughed at the candid answers that kids gave to TV host Art Linkletter. However, it’s pretty annoying to see an adult acting immaturely, demanding their own way, and screaming for attention. In the Christian life, an unstable believer can be blown around by every wind of questionable teaching (see Eph. 4:14-16), or be stuck in their own playpen of doctrine or denomination. A baby is fixated on its parent; how easy it is to be fixated on a Christian celebrity, rather than know the Word of God for ourselves! Babies sleep a lot, and can become fussy and cranky; someone not mature in the faith may not be spiritually alert, and drive off others by their controlling and cross behavior.
The phrase that really jumps out at me in this passage of Hebrews is *by reason of use*. We become spiritually mature by knowing our Bibles, and by deciding to exercise what God teaches us by practice and daily habit of prayer and meditation. When we decide to discern this way, we mature as believers. We won’t be ready to stick just any teaching in our mouths! A mature believer is recognizable by their discernment and unswerving focus on Christ, and wary of teachings not of Him seeking to enter our lives and minds.
How can we exercise our senses to discern good from evil? The Scriptures teach: “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the one who trusts in Him!” (Psalm 34:8 NKJV). Today, become skilled in the word of righteousness, and by *reason of use* become the one who God uses to teach others in His Kingdom.