Roger and I have 2 daughters and when they were growing up we had a wall chart where they would mark the date and their height. We would do this about every six months and it was always exciting to see how much they had grown.
Imagine what a shock it would have been had they grown down and not up!! We would have immediately scheduled an appointment with their pediatrician to find out what was wrong.
Many of the Hebrew Christians to whom this letter was written had grown down in their Christian walk and not up. The author says that they had come to need milk again, not solid food. Imagine a grown child who quit eating regular food and went back to formula and pureed peas! Instead of being able to teach others, they now need someone to teach them the ABC’s of the Christian life all over again. Paul is saying to them “Grow up”!
It says in Chapter 5:13-14, “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”.
Right and wrong behavior needs to be discerned according to God’s word. Our culture bombards us with immoral behavior as if it were “OK” or even desirable. If we are watching TV more than reading our Bibles is it any wonder that Christians struggle with discernment of good and evil?
There is another lesson for us in Chapter 5:11
“We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand.” The Hebrews had “dulled” their hearing. It appears that they no longer even cared to understand.
What I take from this chapter is that while there are different rates of spiritual growth-----if we are not growing then we are shrinking. The question for all of us is which are we right now? We can’t be content to just tread water because the current of the world, the flesh and the devil will carry us backwards if we do not strive to move ahead. To be very direct, if we are not making time daily to spend in God’s word and in prayer, then we are not growing, we are shrinking! We are going from eating meat back to the formula and pureed peas. That stuff is great for babies but not for adults.
The overriding lesson in Chapter 5 of Hebrews is quite simple. Grow up!