Last week, I began a series of posts that go together, and this post is the second one in that series.
Last week, I asked you if a brick wall resembled Jesus and the body of Christ. I discussed being born again as the beginning of a spiritual journey of growing up in your faith.
Let's take a look at how scripture defines spiritual immaturity.
• 1 Corinthians 3:1-3 Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as 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 men?
(Remember from section one, we looked at 1 Peter 2:2 that encouraged us to "crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation" - but I believe this scripture in 1 Corinthians indicates that we are to grow up and begin to consume the deeper truths of God which is solid food.) We expect a new born baby to only be able to drink milk, but we never anticipate a child to remain there. We know that a child must start eating solid food to grow up and be healthy.
So if we are going to grow up into a mature Christian, we must take a look at what things will nourish us.
When I was little, I walked like a child, I talked like a child, but as I grew up, I put away childish ways. My mom didn’t allow me to continue to do the things that were cute as a toddler. Believe it or not, she stopped thinking it was cute. WHY?
Let's consider some signs of immaturity:
Selfish and self-centered (its all about ME, MINE)
NO or limited walking & talking
Whines A LOT
Can’t dress themselves
Doesn’t see the dangers ahead
Pretends to be grown up
Consider how children throw rocks at each other on the playground
Many in the body are throwing stones as well, and the are not on the playground. Take a look at John 8 where the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery to Jesus knowing that the penalty for this according to the law from Moses was to stone her. They were doing it to trap Jesus. He told them in verse 7: “The one without sin among you should be the first to throw a stone at her.” Now look at what happens in verse 9: When they heard this, they left one by one, starting with the older men. Only He was left, with the woman in the center.
Isn't it interesting that the older among them dropped the stones first. I was watching a video last week from SSMT - Living Proof where Beth Moore references this very verse. She notes that those with the spiritual wrinkles on their hands tend to not hold stones because they know how much they are in need of mercy.
So what does it look like when we throw stones in the body? We may be critical and throw stones at others when we observe their sins and talk about it to others, point it out to the sinner in a non-restorative manner (not in love), and we may throw stones by withdrawal, disapproving looks or coolness toward them. However, by our critical spirit toward others we become guilty and in need of stones being thrown at ourselves due to the internal sins within us as a result (our critical spirit becomes our sin.) So as we become aware of our own sinfulness, we tend to drop our stones toward others.
It is funny that in as much as we have sinned, that is how much we tend to give mercy to others and no more. That was a point made in the video as well. Beth described it as a measuring tape. We will extend grace to cover other's sin only as far as we have been in need of forgiveness ourselves. I know that to be true because I am found guilty of doing this very thing.
Take a look at the list below: Possible reasons we throw stones
External Sins (we observe in others)
• Uncontrolled appetite of anything
• Lust, Greed and laziness
Internal Sins (we may not observe in ourselves)
• Pride (remember -- Pride goes before a fall and God opposes the proud)
What if instead of throwing stones at one another, we only pick up stones for the purpose of marking spiritual progress (maturity) in our own lives. Those are called stones of remembrance. Let's start remembering what God is doing and has done in our lives and get rid of those stones that we hurl at the sin in others. Let's use those stones of remembrance to note when God helped us recognize and deal with the plank stuck in our own eye, and cast away the stones we would have used to throw at our brothers and sisters in Christ who have splinters in their eyes.
Look at a few more scripture verses that deal with immaturity.
- Heb 5: 11- 13 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. (*See Heb 4:14-5:8 regarding Jesus as High Priest, His reverent submission and obedience, and the source of eternal salvation to those who obey Him.)
- Heb 5:14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
- Heb 6: 1 Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation …(list of what he calls elementary truths)
Note that the goal of a Christian is to mature or to pursue maturity instead of going back to the initial basic elementary rules of Christianity. Take some time to think through this material, especially the scriptures, and I hope to see you back next week when we begin to look at ways we can grow up in our faith.