“Therefore, leaving behind the initial lessons about the Messiah, let us go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of turning from works that lead to death, trusting God, and instruction about washings, s’mikhah, the resurrection of the dead and eternal punishment. And, God willing, this is what we will do” (Hebrews 6:1-3, Complete Jewish Bible).
In The Parable of the Sower, Yeshua mentions four ways the seed of God’s Word is planted in the heart. The first seed lands by the path, but is stolen by the Adversary. Another seed lands on rocks, but never takes root. The third seed is choked by thorns. The fourth seed falls on rich soil and brings forth a harvest (Luke 8:14).
The third seed is choked by thorns. Because of the worries of life, desire for riches and personal pleasures, the seed planted in this heart never matures. The phrase “they go on their way” implies they do not follow the ways of God, but their own ways. In Matthew 6:31-33, Yeshua describes what the godless worry about: food, drink, and clothing. God knows we need these necessities, but we must have the proper perspective and seek God first. When we seek His Kingdom and His righteousness, the thorns will not longer choke His Word from our lives and we will mature.
The Spiritual Infant
“We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. 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” (Hebrews 5:14).
A physical infant needs the nourishment of milk. It can either drink from its mother’s breast or have formula. Even without great parenting, a baby will grow into adulthood. A spiritual infant, however, can remain a spiritual infant. Formula, man-made milk, will never mature a spiritual infant.
In Corinth, Sha’ul addresses the congregation as infants (1 Corinthians 3:1-3). They are still babies who cannot digest the solid food of the Word. They are worldly, immature people. They have not learned to discern good from evil. They remain untaught, unable to be corrected, and are definitely not being trained in righteousness. Like toddlers, they lack discipline, quarrel, and throw tantrums rooted in jealousy. The only way for these babies to grow into maturity is to chew on solid food.
The Spiritually Mature
The spiritually mature will leave behind the elementary teachings and be trained in righteousness. The Hebrew the word for ‘righteousness’ is tzadek and means ‘honest, right, and true.’ In Greek, the word is dikaiosyne and means ‘doing what is right’. The word ‘training’ in 2 Timothy 2:16 for ‘training in righteousness’ is in the present progressive tense. Righteousness is the ‘training’ process so the spiritually mature learn to do what is right, honest, and true before God.
The spiritually mature will eat solid food using the full counsel of God’s Word –– both testaments. They will not listen to those who teach what their “itching ears want to hear” (2 Timothy 4:3). They will study the ‘meat’ of the Word so that they will be able to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict it (Titus 1:9).
The spiritually mature depend on the Spirit of God to transform their heart, mind, and soul (Philippians 3:20-21). Old thought patterns will be discarded until they can see God’s will for their lives – the good, pleasing and perfect will of the Father (Romans 12:2). The spiritually mature know God’s will and when trials are placed in their path, they won’t stumble and fall or lose their way. They stand fully assured in the will of God (Colossians 4:12).
The spiritually mature have trained their senses to discern good and evil (Hebrews 5:14). They recognize false teachers, prophets, and messiahs; they refute evil, lawlessness, false gods, and paganism.
The message of wisdom is for the mature who walk in the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 2:4-6). God’s Spirit enabled Yeshua to walk in the wisdom of his Father. God’s Spirit gives the spiritually mature the same wisdom as Yeshua, the mind of Messiah (1 Corinthians 2:16). Wisdom is taking knowledge and understanding and acting on it. According to Hosea 14:10, the wise understand that the ways of Adonai are straight, and the righteous walk in them.
The spiritually mature strain and train to reach a heavenly goal (Philippians 3:12-14). Straining implies struggling, laboring, toiling, and making every effort to run the race. Teachers stuck in the elementary teachings will inhibit and limit running this race, but the spiritually mature will persevere because they know that when “perseverance finishes its work, they will be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4). They will receive the prize: the Bride of Messiah who has trained herself in righteousness.
“All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained” (Philippians 3:12-16).
©2005 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved. No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.