Most of us don’t find the Sunday morning message comfortable when it leaves us embarrassed or defensive, angered or guilty… We may find ourselves looking at our watch or thinking about lunch! We much prefer the good feeling we have when the sermon does not point directly at us! And today, many will choose offense when a message pricks their conscience and simply find a church with a constant “upbeat” message.
The author of Hebrews was preaching an uncomfortable sermon in Hebrews, chapter 5 verses 11-13: Concerning this we have much to say which is hard to explain, since you have become dull in your (spiritual) hearing and sluggish (even slothful in achieving spiritual insight). For even though by this time you ought to be teaching others, you actually need someone to teach you over again the very first principles of God’s Word. You have come to need milk, not solid food. For everyone who continues to feed on milk is obviously inexperienced and unskilled in the doctrine of righteousness (of conformity to the divine will in purpose, thought, and action), for he is a mere infant (not able to talk yet)! (Amplified)
Perhaps many checked their watches and drifted off in thought that day, denying guilt. Some likely ignored the message in anger. Yet some likely chose the right thing–taking the challenge to change and grow…
What about those messages that leave us convicted, knowing we are guilty of the behaviors and attitudes the pastor is condemning based on God’s Word? When we hear these types of messages, we are faced with the choice of ignoring, explaining, or even denying their validity in our own life. Or, receiving the truth of God’s Word. No one wants to be reminded of their sin, but it’s because of God’s love for us that He sends His conviction through the preaching of His Word. And spiritual maturity comes by receiving conviction and working with God to change the patterns of sin in our lives.
What does spiritual maturity look like? In verse 13 we see three areas of consideration: purpose, thought, and actions:
1.Purpose of the mature: one thing a mature Christian must do is to consider the needs of others around them, especially those who do not know Christ, and they must act accordingly. If our attitude is one that says it’s about us and how we feel and what we want, then we still need the “milk” of the Word and are not ready to hear how we should behave (solid food).
2.Thoughts of the mature: our thoughts must become more and more like those of Christ. While we will never be perfect like Him, we can certainly seek His help in how we think about everything and everyone! His ways are higher than ours, and He can guide us in our thought life. We should not only think about ourselves, but about those around us. And our thoughts should be kind.
3. Actions of the mature: As we learn God’s Word, we must put into practice what it says. We must become a doer of the word. God tells us that if we think we know His Word, but continue in our own way, we deceive only ourselves and eventually the truth comes to light.
Take the opportunity through God’s Word to grow, coming finally to spiritual maturity. When we are mature in Him, we are ready to help others grow, to teach and lead in various areas and be an example others want to follow. It isn’t easy to move from milk to solid food spiritually, growing is always painful whether it’s physical or spiritual. But in Him we can attain that goal… got solid food?