“I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for solid food. Even now you are still not ready, for you are still fleshly. For as long as there is jealousy & quarreling among you, are you not fleshly & behaving according to human inclinations?” – 1 Corinthians 3:2

As adults, we don’t like to think of ourselves as children, still drinking the equivalent of milk or formula regarding our spiritual formation. We have years of living & being in this world under our belt, & so we assume we are consuming the meat of the faith & functioning from the place of whole, spiritual maturity. Yet, when we consider the words of Paul & honestly reflect on the jealousy & quarreling, dare I add selfish intent & spreading of gossip or rumors, we are still acting according to fleshly, or worldly, inclinations. To mature in our faith, we need to lay these things aside. As Jesus says, whatever is done in covered-up, done in the dark, or whispered in secret will be uncovered, brought to the light, or shouted from the rooftops (Luke 12:2-3). So why do we think our childish ways won’t be revealed? Why, then, do we believe our inclinations to go our own way & act according to worldly desires & metrics will remain in secret if we act like we are eating the meat of spiritual maturity?

“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways.” – 1 Corinthians 13:11

We end childish ways when we stop acting like we’re not sometimes childish. Our humanity isn’t burned out of us by the indwelling Spirit; instead, we become more & more aware of our human failings the more aware we are of how far apart we are from Christ in our formation & function in the world. Quoting the Bible, engaging in study, having an affinity group of peers or like-minded people, participating in mission & ministry, & all the other various ways we know develop our faith do not in themselves burn out the humanity of our beings that have us motivated by fleshly, worldly things. It is only when we intentionally take what we have learned & honestly reflect on the many ways we yet consume spiritual milk. Then, we must decide if we will lay aside what served us in the past & try something new to serve us in growing forward. We can still rely on the spiritual milk, going through the motions, surrounding ourselves with like-minded people & relying on the same patterns that have served us to continue serving us in the future. Or we can lay aside the milk, choosing instead to slowly pick up the solid foods of our faith that require us to lay aside our own minds & consider the mind of Jesus, the mind of the local church that is the body of Christ in the world. In that mind, we won’t always get our way, we won’t always have our voice come out on top, & we won’t always agree. But what we will get is maturity as we allow the experience of community to call us to lay aside the fleshly, worldly things that spark our jealousy & quarreling for the process of consensus & compromise. We will realize that gossipping & perhaps unrevealed selfish intent was holding us back from realizing the fullness of the maturity of faith to which we are formed & called.
I am convicted time & again for the ways I seek my will & my way in this world. I am called again & again to lay aside my agenda, my timeframe, and my desire so that the fullness of the wondrous glory that is God’s vision & purpose might be revealed. My hope is that we might together do the hard work of maturing in our faith so that the fullness of the Spirit’s calling is revealed, supporting us into the newness of life everlasting.