I have always been a fan of fresh meat. There is just something amazing about opening a package of 2-inch thick tenderloins from a steer that I knew had been spoiled on grass. After having four kids, my wife and I decided that not only was fresh meat a healthier choice, but it was also a much more affordable one. What we learned, however, was that young children do not typically appreciate a good steak as much as we do. I was mortified to find out that my babies were more content with mac and cheese than a rib-eye! What to do?
I know that my children’s tastes will change as they develop. As they grow older, their bodies will require more complex foods and nutrients for the different stages of their lives. Part of my task, as their parent, is to help them develop good eating habits so that they do not grow up eating only mac and cheese. They must learn to appreciate other foods for the sake of good health. This is true of anyone. Good health requires mature eating. The same is true for spiritual growth.
Paul wrote to the church in Corinth about this same point. He said:
Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly—mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men? (1 Corinthians 3:1-3 NIV)
The church in Corinth lacked spiritual maturity. It made sense that Paul began by teaching them the most basic aspect of the gospel, salvation by faith in Jesus, but they had not moved forward from there. They had become content with this “milk”, this “mac and cheese” theology, that offered them salvation but required nothing of them. This immaturity is what led them to quarrel among each other and to have the numerous problems that Paul had to address in his letter to them.
Paul pointed out to the church, that their spiritual immaturity had led them to act like everyone else. We should ask ourselves a serious question: Except for our theological opinions, what makes Christians any different from anyone else? In reality, when we have settled for mac and cheese theology we do not mature enough to look any different from anyone else—how sad. This is what Paul was addressing to the church, and it may be that it needs to be addressed in our lives today.
The most basic message in the Bible is of a transforming love. In this same letter to the Corinthians, Paul wrote:
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. (1 Corinthians 13:8-11 NIV)
What are you doing to ensure that you are maturing spiritually? How are you putting away the “childish things” so that your spiritual walk becomes about this godly love? You see, spiritual growth is about shifting the focus of your faith from you to others. Just as the Israelites only wanted God to free them from Egypt, sometimes we only seek God to escape condemnation. Of course, God saved the Israelites so that they could become a blessing to all the nations; and in the same way, every person who has received God’s grace is also responsible to be a blessing to the rest of the world.
The childish Christian settles for mac and cheese that allows them to get fat and ignore the rest of creation. You were created to eat meat. To grow closer to God. To love others as He does. Put away childish faith and start eating the meat that prepares you to be a blessing to others.
Grafted by His Grace,
Pastor Raul Granillo