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Hebrews 5:11-6:3

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. (5:12-14)


Our kids were so incredibly cute when they were little! I loved cuddling them, playing with them, laughing hilariously, running races (which I always let them win), reading bedtime stories, tucking them in, saying night-time prayers, kissing them to sleep. Such amazing memories. I wouldn’t have missed those days for anything. I miss them.

But I wouldn’t want my grown kids to revert back. Never! Not only would it be entirely unnatural – it would also be tragic to lose all the growth and maturity and development of character and giftswhich have come about in these succeeding years. Yes, they were so cute, back then, but now I revel in their maturity and continuing growth.

The writer to the Hebrews is concerned that his readers are slipping backward. When he tells them “you need milk,” he literally prefaces it with the word “become” – they have become in need of milk once again! How tragic. Their maturing has slowed and indeed reversed. Bottles are adorable, but not in the mouths of those who should be eating solid food.

These readers have been followers of Jesus long enough that they should actually be teaching others. Instead, they themselves are still in need of the basic ABCs of the faith. They need to lay again a foundation of repentance and faith in God, having slipped back in their growth. By now they should be well rooted in the Lord’s own righteousness, regularly training in the gymnasium of faith, being stretched and strengthened in discipleship, so that they can instinctively know good from evil, being “eager to do what is good”(Titus 2:14).

But they’re not there. It’s a cautionary tale.

Like you, I have seen many who have come to faith, but then seem to get stalled, lingering in the nursery, not growing to maturity. It’s disheartening to see. On the other hand, I have seen those who came to faith later in life – some with no background in faith whatsoever – but have then burst into growth and maturity,exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit, together with his gifts, and thriving in service of their Lord Jesus Christ.

My Dad was one of those. He came to faith in his late 20s, a couple of years before my birth, but by the time I was old enough to be aware, I simply knew him to be a man of mature, deeply grounded faith. He was up early – every morning – reading the Scriptures. He ran Bible Studies, taught Sunday School, lived his faith in the workplace in such a way that it influenced many others, preached, gave leadership in the church, served in para-church ministries, loved my Mom faithfully and well for over sixty-six years, and was an ongoing example to all of us kids. He was nurtured with milk but went on to thrive on solid food for the rest of his life. I am so incredibly grateful.

The author to the Hebrews, having voiced his concern and sounded the alarm, has the abiding hope that his readers will in fact quicken their pace and press on to maturity. “Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are confident of better things in your case”(Hebrews 6:9).

May it be true of us, also. May we not lag behind in following our Lord. May we draw on the empowering strength of his Spirit, nourished by his Word, encouraged in fellowship, and stepping daily into the good works he has prepared long in advance for us to do.

May we “become” mature.


Lord Jesus, thank you for salvation. Thank you for leading me to repentance and faith. Thank you for nurturing me in early days, nourishing me with the milk of your Word. Strengthen me now with the solid food meant for my maturity. May I not slip back. May I press on, following “Thee more nearly – day by day.”


Reflect: Look back and give thanks for the ways the Lord has nurtured you. What are the milestones? Look around – what maturing is he wanting to work in your life now? What steps do you need to take to submit to that process?


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