December 13 I Thursday
“But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” —Hebrews 5:14
Spiritual maturity has little relation to age. Someone who came to Christ a few years ago can be more spiritually mature than an older person who has attended church all their lives. Spiritual maturity is something we must choose to pursue, and growth occurs as we learn from His Word and begin ministering to others.
Spiritual immaturity does not have the ability to clearly distinguish good from evil. This is particularly challenging in the West today because we live in a society that has dismantled its moral infrastructure. Our moral climate is largely ruled by secularism, where the criterion for right and wrong is general consensus. Without an objective criterion, the immature Christian belongs to Christ but is easily swayed by the explicit and subliminal influences of the world.
The mature Christian distinguishes good from evil by constant use of the Word of God, the only reliable expression of the mind and heart of God. By constant use, they are able to stand in a broken society and know what is true. This is not intermittent Sunday morning use, hoping this will set their course for the week. Neither is it maturity by osmosis, trying to grow by hanging around with other Christians or listening to sermons as they drift off to sleep. This is a disciplined returning to the Word day after day, allowing it to mold our minds and build our resistance to the seductions of this world.
The mature Christian is not solely a learner and absorber but a teacher and server. The author of Hebrews reprimands some long-term immature Christians, “In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again” (Hebrews 5:12). When we gain maturity in Christ, it is essential we share what we know and become teachers in bringing the Gospel to others. This is vitally important, firstly, because a vibrant relationship with Jesus will overflow from our hearts to our mouths, and what we say will bring encouragement to others. Secondly, as we engage in Christian service, we will discover there is no greater stimulus to growth than seeking to minister to people.
Our Christian lives should not remain static but be a continual pursuit of becoming an instrument for the work of the Lord Jesus in this world. How? Jesus said, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them” (John 7:37-38). As we spend time with Christ, the water we are thirsty for will become a stream that flows out of us in blessing to others.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your Word, through which I learn to distinguish right and wrong, and for the ways You are growing me into a teacher of Your truth, not just a learner.