I really like to eat.  Even though I have had to change my eating habits over the years, I still treat myself every now and then to something I can really dig into.  Chicken wings, steak, ribs…I am seriously getting hungry just thinking about it.  Thankfully, the Bible is supportive of my habits.

Solid food is for those who are mature… (Hebrews 5:14a NLT)

Very cool.  There are so many times when I read the Bible and feel challenged or convicted.  It’s great to find a scripture where you just feel completely vindicated.  For once, it’s comforting to know that you are in line with the word.  Wait…what?  I took that out of context.  Well…let’s see.

There is much more we would like to say about this, but it is difficult to explain, especially since you are spiritually dull and don’t seem to listen.  You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word.  You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food.  For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right.  Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong.  (Hebrews 5:11-14 NLT)

Ah…I get it.  Food is a metaphor.

While there are several lessons in this passage, I want to focus on the last two sentences.  I think that, far too often, we expect people to instantly become just like Jesus when they give their lives to Him.  It’s like we expect them to pray for salvation and open their eyes completely changed and full of Godly wisdom.  Obviously, that cannot be the case.

Determining right from wrong, making just decisions, and deep theological understanding come with spiritual maturity.  I am reminded of the lyrics of a Casting Crowns song:  “God has got to change your heart before He changes your shirt.”

We cannot expect Christians that are new to their faith to know everything or be prepared for any trial that comes their way.  Actually, no Christian could fit that description.  We need to be patient, supportive, and loving of people through their mistakes as they mature in their faith.  Hopefully, we have had people there to do the same for us.  I know I have…and still do.

So the next time you witness a new believer stumbling, try to remember that they are working their way up to solid food.  They may not be ready to handle that particular challenge…at least on their own.  That is when it is our job to pick them back up and help them get back on the path toward spiritual maturity.

And if you are new in your faith, let this passage serve as encouragement that you aren’t expected to be perfect.  It is assumed that your transformation into who God wants you to be will take time.  You will stumble at some point, and that’s okay.  That’s what grace is all about.

I hope that one day I will be spiritually mature enough to sit at the solid food table.  And I pray that my brothers and sisters in Christ will continue to help me along in my journey.




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