From Milk to Food
If you keep lots of exercise equipment in your basement but never pick up the weights to train your muscles or strengthen your cardiovascular health, it will be useless. Muscles grow through consistent use. A personal trainer may be helpful, but we must also make a commitment to train ourselves. When Paul wrote to Timothy, “Train yourself for godliness” (1 Timothy 4:7), he was emphasizing that no role model, leader, or friend could do the hard work for him.
As we grow in our Christian walk, we learn elementary truths, slowly putting them into practice and growing in spiritual discernment. This process helps us transition from milk to solid food (Hebrews 5:12-14), from spiritual infancy to spiritual maturity, so that we can eventually begin to teach others. It is a God-designed life cycle meant to expand His kingdom.
To change the metaphor, Christianity’s fundamental truths are vital; everything else we learn about Christ is built upon them. But it isn’t productive to camp on them forever. We must be diligent in making progress in the Christian life, constantly striving to grow in holiness, asking the Spirit to build us up as we go deeper into His inspired word.
God does not conform His children to the image of His Son in isolation from life or the instruction of His word. As you are trained in the Scriptures and lay hold of them, so you make progress. Does your Bible show signs of daily, disciplined use? Do you seek intentionally to learn from those who are further on in their walk than you, and do you wrestle with difficult doctrines rather than leaving them for “the experts”? And do you read and wrestle and meditate with a view to growing in your love for Christ and your ability to serve others in your church and in your community, rather than with a view only to knowing more? Never let it be said of you that you could have grown more and done more to help God’s people. Seek to grow. That will require God’s help—but as we seek Him, He will surely honor our efforts!
7In the days of his flesh, Jesus1 offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. 8Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. 9And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, 10being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.
Warning Against Apostasy
11About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 12For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, 13for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. 14But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.
1Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2and of instruction about washings,1 the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3And this we will do if God permits.
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