Spiritual Growth (Heb 5:12)

by Steven Chan
13th June 2010

God expects us to grow in our spiritual lives. The apostle Paul expressed his disappointment that the brethren were still not capable of being teachers when they ought to be by that time. He noted that “you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.” Are our spiritual understanding such that we are still expecting to be taught the elementary principles of the Word of God? If so, the apostle Paul urges us to move forward to higher ground, and to attain a higher level of appreciation and understanding of the Word of God so that we will no longer be tossed about every doctrine or teaching that may be introduced by various people along life’s road: “that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ” (Eph 4:14-15). God expects us to grow spiritually. The question we should ask ourselves continually is this: Am I growing spiritually?

In fact, the apostle Paul linked our spiritual growth and development to the growth of the church as well: “from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.”(Eph 4:16) When each one of us grows in our spiritual understanding and practice, we would each be able to function properly as we should in the body of Christ and as a result, everyone in the church will benefit and we will all grow together.

One indication that we have not matured in our faith, according to the apostle Paul is this: when we are unskilled in the word of righteousness: Heb 5:13: “For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe.” Brethren, there are some things that are hard to understand (2 Pet 3:16-17) We need to grow in our understanding of God’s Word so that we can be skilled or be competent in using His Word as our spiritual Sword: Eph 6:17: “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

In his farewell speech to the elders of the church at Ephesus, and as recorded in Acts 20:32, the apostle Paul said: “So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.” He said that the Word of His Grace is able to build you up and give you an inheritance. God’s Word is God’s gift to us – to help build us up or strengthen us – so that we can have the promised inheritance in heaven. We should not deprive ourselves of God’s gift of His wonderful and powerful Word. That’s why Jesus quoted the Scriptures and said: “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ “(Matt 4:4).

Brethren, we must resolve to grow so that we can glorify God. Let’s not disappoint God by our failure to grow. Heb 5:14: “But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” The Bible says “by reason of use”, we have our senses exercised to discern both good and evil. We need to use God’s Word in our lives; it is not sufficient to just study the Word of God; we need to put them into practice – we need to let God’s Word guide our lives. Then, we would have exercised our senses to discern or tell the difference between both good and evil. Our daily challenge is to be able to tell the difference in terms of the choices we make. Do we use God’s Word to guide the decisions or choices we make in our daily lives – whether with regards to our work, our friends, our life partners, our time, our vocation or vacation. We need to grow in the manner that God desires for us and thereby glorify Him.