“… of whom we have much to say, and hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Hebrews 5:11-14).
Childishness and maturity each have their own characteristics. Childish behavior is normal and acceptable when you are eight years old but not when you are thirty-eight.
This passage identifies four characteristics of spiritual immaturity. They are:
Lack of a spiritual appetite (v. 11). An infant grows rapidly because it has a persistent appetite. In light of this, Peter writes: “as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby (1 Peter 2:2). Lack of appetite is a common sign of physical illness. It is a sure path to spiritual immaturity.
Inability to teach (v. 12). A level of growth and maturity must be reached before you are able to capably instruct others. Without an adequate storehouse of accurate knowledge, “teaching” becomes nothing more than a display of one’s ignorance. If you were given a teaching assignment, would you be able to competently fulfill your responsibility?
Lack of spiritual teeth (vv. 12-13). Infants do not have or need teeth because of their current dietary requirements. Their digestive system has not matured to a level where solid food is useful and appropriate. The same can be true of Christians.
Lack of spiritual discernment (v. 14). A child lacks wisdom and discernment, and thus can be deceived easily. A Christian with a woeful diet and lack of spiritual exercise is also undiscerning and easily fooled. “I don’t see anything wrong with it” may be a profession of a lack of spiritual growth, not an accurate and righteous appraisal of something.
Spiritual immaturity among those who ought to be mature Christians is inexcusable.