Ezra 4:1-24; 1 Corinthians 3:1-4; Psalms 29:1-2; Proverbs 11:7
NT: “For my part, brothers and sisters, I was not able to speak to you as spiritual people but as people of the flesh, as babies in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food, since you were not yet ready for it. In fact, you are still not ready, because you are still worldly. For since there is envy and strife among you, are you not worldly and behaving like mere humans? For whenever someone says, “I belong to Paul,” and another, “I belong to Apollos,” are you not acting like mere humans?” (1 Corinthians 3:1-4 CSB)
At the end of the previous chapter, Paul mentioned two types of people: natural and spiritual. Natural people are unsaved and unredeemed people who are not yet spiritually alive to God. Spiritual people are people who have been saved and redeemed through faith in Christ and have received His spiritual life. Paul also mentioned that there was a spiritual wisdom from God that was available to those who were mature in Christ that natural people could know nothing of. Paul began this chapter by saying that when he was last in Corinth, he wasn’t able to speak to the Corinthian believers as spiritual people because they were still babies in Christ. They were new believers and hadn’t had enough time to mature. However, some time had progressed since Paul was in Corinth, and he was disappointed because the believers there were still immature and still acting like natural humans. It is understandable and expected for new believers to be immature, but it is wrong for believers to stay immature – just as it would be wrong for a normally functioning child to never be weaned from its mother… never progress to solid food… never become potty trained, etc.
According to Paul, there are two types of believer: mature believers who are walking according to the Spirit and growing in the wisdom of God by the Spirit, and immature believers who are still living according to the patterns and desires of the flesh and are no different from the world. Envy, strive, divisions, factions, celebrity-ism and the like are all signs of immaturity. How do we grow in maturity as believers? It partly involves our progression in the types of food we eat: progressing from milk to solid food. The Bible teaches that our food is the word of God and obeying the word of God. Milk represents those things that are extremely basic to a believer and easy to do. Solid food represents those things in the word that are much harder to obey – those things that we cannot obey unless we do so by grace through the empowering of the Holy Spirit. If we never allow our faith to grow beyond obeying God in the simple things that we can do in our own strength, and avoid the things in the word that are difficult or impossible to do unless we rely on grace, then we will remain carnally minded and never mature spiritually.
Psalms: “Ascribe to the Lord, you heavenly beings, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.” (Psalms 29:1-2 CSB)
According to a commentary that I read, Psalm 29 was (and is) often recited during the feast of Pentecost. In this psalm, David likened the voice of the Lord to a powerful storm. The latter rains were the rains that brought forth the harvest that was celebrated at Pentecost. The neighboring nations worshipped the god Baal, and believed him to be the god of thunder and storms. However, David knew that the Lord God, the God of Israel was the God of all Creation. So he began the psalm by calling the heavenly hosts (and by default, the nations under heaven) to ascribe to the Lord the glory that and strength that was due His name and worship Him in His absolute holiness. No other man-made god deserved glory for what only God could do. It was also on the day of Pentecost that God released His Holy Spirit to us in a mighty rushing wind and flames of fire. And it is that Holy Spirit that speaks the words of God to us, fills us with God’s wisdom and leads us to maturity in Christ. It is nothing that we can do in our natural abilities. Godly wisdom and spiritual maturity can only come from God as we humble ourselves and place our faith in Him and His Holy Spirit. So ascribe to God glory and strength and worship Him in His beautiful and absolute holiness.
Prayer: Lord, in Christ you have called me to much more than a mediocre and carnal life that is no different from the world around me. You have called me to be set apart and vastly different from the world. You have called me to be holy as You are holy. While I believe that to be possible, I know that it is only possible as You lead me, mold me and shape me by the maturing work of your Holy Spirit. Help me to not avoid the more substantive parts of the word, but instead open my life to Your maturing work as I endeavor to believe and obey Your word by grace through faith and the empowering of the Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.