Spiritual Peter Pan
If we don't grow spiritually, there is deficiency and danger.
Have you ever had a commercial jingle stuck in your head? One I can vividly remember was an advertisement for Toys 'R Us. The tagline of the jingle was, "I don't want to grow up, I'm a Toys 'R Us kid."
Many people in the church refuse to grow up. They are spiritual Peter Pans.
Hebrews 5:12-6:8 addresses the spiritual Peter Pan. For the sake of the constraints of this post, I will highlight two selections of the text. The first shows his deficiency and the second, his danger.
You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.Hebrews 5:12b-14
The author creates a disturbing scenario. Imagine a person being the age of an adult, but grossly malnourished because they are still on an infant diet. It's a 30-year-old man drinking from a baby bottle. He "lives on milk."
Unfortunately, there are lots of childish Christians who are still on "basic principles (5:12)." They lack discernment (5:14). They are happy in Christ as long as they get their way. If they don't, they are prone to spiritual temper tantrums.
To reach maturity, we must move on past fundamental truths (Heb. 6:1-3) and press on into deeper things; the meat of the mature (5:14). Yes, these things are harder to understand (5:11), they take more skill to study (5:13), and time for training and practice to discern (5:14). But without them, we are spiritual Peter Pans living with a deficiency and unable to reach maturity.
For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.Hebrews 6:4-6
Hebrews 6:1-8 contains one of several warning passages scattered throughout the book. Each of them describes a person who started well but fell away.
Statistics show a disturbing amount of people walking away from the Christian faith. If we walk away, we will continue to seek the same things that brought us to Christ. Restoration. Redemption. Regeneration. Love. Salvation. But only Christ can fill our deepest needs. Where else will we go? It is "impossible (6:4)" to find in something else or someone else what you walk away from in Christ.
The reason people walk away is that continued spiritual deficiency eventually turns into spiritual danger. Just like a man living on a bottle won't make it, neither will the spiritual Peter Pan.
The church is not a spiritual Toys 'R Us. We have to grow up.
Read Ephesians 4:11-16. This passage stresses the importance of spiritual immaturity. Notice how maturity is a purpose of the church.
- What are the promises/truths to be embraced?
- What are the commands to be obeyed (whether implied or stated)?
- What are the principles to be applied?
Take an active, learning approach in your local church this weekend. Don't just be a passive listener. Take notes. Prepare ahead for the small group lesson. Spend some time on Sunday evening writing down your takeaways from the day. Notice the difference intentionality and engagement makes in your church experience.
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