9 Reasons Spiritual Babies Refuse to Grow Up
- Dr. Roger Barrier Preach It, Teach It
- 2018 6 Mar
Peter Pan, the children’s tale by Sir James M. Barrie is a fictional story of a boy who refused to grow up. Peter Pan the boy makes for a charming story. But Peter Pan, the man or the woman who will not grow up, is a tragedy.
I know what it’s like to have a child that can’t grow up. I believe that I have a small sense of what goes on in God’s heart when one of his spiritual children refuses to grow up.
In Hebrews 5:11–14, the author was desperately concerned about young Christians who were lagging behind in their spiritual growth:
"We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. 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. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil."
Here are 9 reasons why spiritual babies never grow up, and what we can do about it:
1. “I’m too lazy.”
The Greek word above translated as “slow to learn” is often translated as “lazy”. These Hebrew Christians were lazy. The writer of Hebrews expected them to grow up, learn the foundational truths, and be well on their way to maturity. But by their own choices, they’d quit. They were stymied, moving backwards on their spiritual journeys.
2. “There aren’t enough mentors.”
Mature Christians have an awesome responsibility to help the less mature grow up. Peter reminded the church leaders of Ephesus: “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be” (1 Peter 5:1).
3. “What I don’t know is probably not important.”
"They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts." - Ephesians 4:18
We might refer to this as pride, arrogance and deception.
4. “Materialism is so attractive.”
"Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love." - Jonah 2:8
Jesus told us that materialism is the rival god. Jesus taught us that the enamoring cares of this world choke out the spiritual life. Frankly, many of us are more concerned with getting what the world has to offer than we are with getting what God has to offer.
5. “The cost is too high.”
In Exodus 20 Moses invited the Israelites to come close to Mount Sinai so they could hear God speak. The people declined the offer because, “We’re afraid that if we hear the voice of God it will cost of our lives.” Truer words were never spoken. When we hear the voice of Jesus it may well cost us our lives. However, one day we will discover that it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to us.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, “When Jesus Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.”
6. “I’d rather keep my pet sins than see God."
"Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy. Blessed is the one who always trembles before God, but whoever hardens their heart falls into trouble." - Proverbs 28:13-14
Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God." The degree to which we purify our lives is the degree to which we can see and hear God speak.
7. “I'll be persecuted if people find out that I’m a Christian.”
"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” - Deuteronomy 31:6
The temptation to compromise our biblical values and ethics in sensitive situations (at work or in school or in day-to-day living) can be incredibly difficult. “If I take a stand for Jesus in front of my peers, they may reject me!”
(*Image Credit:©Thinkstock/Digital Vision)
8. “I’m afraid.”
Have you ever heard a spiritual child say, “I’m afraid that if I tithe I won’t have enough money left to meet my needs”? “If I take a stand for Jesus in front of my peers, they may reject me!” “If I open my mouth and share the gospel I’m afraid that people will think that I’m crazy.” Those are the musings of a spiritual child who is afraid to trust God.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10) must be balanced with the parallel truth in 1 John 4:18: “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear… The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”