Let’s Grow Up
Read 1 Corinthians 3:1-3
Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly-mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans?
What does Paul say is evidence of spiritual immaturity?
When my kids were babies, they only drank milk. But they gradually started eating solid foods. Now, they are on a diet with a variety of solid foods. When they were really young, they didn’t know right from wrong, how to share, or problem-solve, so they fought all the time! Now that they are older, they still argue sometimes. But they are more mature now than they were as preschoolers. They are learning right from wrong and gaining social skills. They are growing up.
In this passage, Paul was admonishing the Corinthian church for their lack of spiritual maturity. They were not growing up! Paul had previously spent 18 months with the Corinthian church. When he wrote 1 Corinthians, he was in Ephesus and had heard of serious problems in Corinth-most of them stemming from spiritual immaturity. Like infants, they were not ready to eat spiritual “solid food.” They were not prepared to learn, discuss, and explore the deep things of God. They still needed a steady diet of milk-just the basics, over and over.
Plus, they fought like kids. They were fighting over which Bible teacher should have their allegiance. In 1 Corinthians 3:5-9, Paul explains how they were fighting over who’s “camp” to be in, Paul or Apollos? Paul reminded them that he and Apollos were co-workers. They were on the same team and in the same camp-God’s!
But this jealousy, in-fighting, and lack of depth in their spiritual understanding were all indicators of their immaturity in matters of the faith. They were saved, yes, but they hadn’t grown. They were still very much spiritual infants. In fact, Paul referred to them as “worldly.” They still acted like the rest of the world instead of as Christians living by the Spirit.
Friends, it is ok to be a baby Christian when you are just starting out. The basics of the Gospel (spiritual milk) are good and necessary. But we are called to growth. The longer we walk by the Spirit, the deeper our spiritual understanding should be. We should become less and less like the world but more and more like Christ. As God’s people, we should not be contentious and argue with each other. We should not be jealous of one another. We shouldn’t be acting like immature little children. We are on the same team! Church, let’s grow up together.
Father, I want to grow up in You. Help me to mature spiritually as I study Your Word and fellowship with other believers. May the fruit of your Spirit be evident in my life as I interact with those around me. Amen.
~ Pastor Nat Crawford
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