The Pursuit of Maturity

Hebrews 5:11-6:1, “Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought  to be teachers, you have need again someone to teach you the elementary principles of oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil. Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about Christ, let us press on to maturity…

In recent months, I have had an earnest desire to be “mature”. At the same time, I have been wrestling and struggling with particular sins in my life, which have prevented me from growing much in maturity and faith. But then, after many weeks of feeling discouraged, distressed, then comforted, yet suffering from terrible sluggishness in my personal devotions, the Lord kindly brought this passage to my attention. Actually, as I have been reading through Hebrews in recent mornings, I have been refreshed by its rich truths, and so many passages have jumped from the page, resonating in my heart and mind. Yet, this particular passage seemed most pertinent to my own life and hopefully to yours as well, dear reader.

When I read this passage, I was first reminded that true, Biblical maturity is an increasing knowledge, understanding, and application of God’s Word, something that I have been lacking in weeks past. The author of Hebrews was seeking to communicate this to the Hebrew believers, who were also apparently lacking in Biblical understanding and application. And what a powerful contrast the author gives! He compares the Hebrew believers to elementary students, when they ought to have been teachers. For me, this created a potent image in my mind. These believers should have been able to teach God’s Word, to disciple others, to exhort, encourage, rebuke, and restore others using the principles and truths of God’s Word. Yet where were they? They were merely elementary students, like children who just being introduced to the alphabet, the basic principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

In addition to this, the author gives another comparison, saying that the believers ought to have been digesting the meat of God’s Word, that is, comprehending, understanding, and sorting through the difficult doctrinal passages, and knowing how to apply what they were learning. Instead, these believers were suffering from babe-like innocence and apathy. They were only able to comprehend and apply the most basic concepts of God’s Word, because they were not diligently pursuing maturity.

How my heart was stirred and troubled when I started to dwell upon all these things! I suddenly found myself standing before the heavenly court guilty and convicted of this very thing, that I was not actively and persistently pursuing this kind of maturity! And what’s more, I was struck when that passage of Scripture proceeded to identify which specific characteristic defines the spiritually mature: they “have their senses trained to discern good and evil”. How I have failed in this aspect! Many of my readers know from previous posts how I have struggled and wrestled with sin. Surely if I had desired to do good, I would have recognized it, sought it out, and pursued it. Yet, in my struggles, the temptation would come, and I knew in my heart what was evil, and I sinned anyway.

Nevertheless, my own sinful stubbornness could never nullify God’s grace, nor His love, nor His forgiveness. Thus, in recent weeks, He has gently showed to me the sinfulness of my own heart and offered His strength to combat its temptations. Now, I am so thankful for His kindness toward me, that even when I wrestled against my flesh and repeatedly dishonored the name of my God, He has still cleansed me. And not only that, but He continues to give me new understanding of His Word. Spiritual maturity is necessary and commanded of every believer. And I pray that the Lord will strengthen each one of my readers to leave behind any trace of apathy and elementary understanding of Scripture, and to press on toward a greater understanding and more effective application of His Word, resulting in continual rejection of sinfulness and reckless pursuit of goodness and holiness…

“Therefore, leaving the elementary teaching about Christ, let us press on toward maturity…”

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