Every Christian born into the faith is destined to follow the Word of God. But, how do people evolve from spiritual babies into spiritual adults? What are the signs of spiritual immaturity?
We all start as little babies who are supposed to grow towards salvation. However, not all people are able to achieve spiritual maturity.
Those people are regarded as spiritual babies, even though they are full-grown adults. A spiritual baby claims to be a true Christian but does not follow God’s word or actively engage in spiritual life.
The first step to spiritual development is to recognize religious stagnation, and there’s no better way to do so than listening to the Word of the Lord.
What Is The Word Of God?
The Word of God is usually referred to as the ultimate spiritual message that the Lord sent to us through prophets – “Then the word of the Lord came to me.” (Jeremiah 13:3 NIV)
Even though all Scriptures from the Bible are considered to be the word or inspiration of God, some of the Lord’s most important revelations came through Jesus Christ.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1 NIV).
Jesus is referred to as the Word of the Lord in John’s Gospel several times, as well as in the Book of Revelation:
“He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God.” (Revelation 19:13 NIV)
These verses are frequently discussed as there’s no clear explanation in the Bible for why Jesus is considered to be the personification of God’s word.
The arrival of Jesus Christ into this world and his sacrifice for mankind are very powerful messages for every mature Christian.
It could be said that this was the Lord’s way of communicating with us, telling us that he loves us unconditionally, just as a father loves his children.
What Are Signs Of Being A Spiritual Baby?
1. Not following the Word of God
“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.” (1 Corinthians 3:1-2 NIV)
This verse is very powerful, as it shows how fragile our spirit is. Paul says here how he expected much more from Corinthians and considers them to be nothing better than infants who are still not able to feed on solid food.
The best path of spiritual growth in Christian life is to feed on God’s word. Just as babies can’t tolerate solid food, immature Christians cannot grow spiritually without feeding on God’s word.
Hebrews explains this as well: “For everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness since he is a child.” (Hebrews 5:13 ESV)
Hebrews refers to the child here as someone who can’t talk yet and cannot process the “word of righteousness” (Hebrews 5:13 NIV).
The author of this passage continues explaining that “solid food is for the mature” (Hebrews 5:14) meaning that only those who read God’s word and live by His will can be considered mature.
The main question every Christian should ask himself is: “When was the last time I read and lived by the Word of God?”
If the answer is not at least once a day, you might be a spiritual baby rather than a mature Christian. It’s not enough to read His words, as anyone can read, but to live by those words and celebrate them daily, that’s what truly matters.
That’s the true representation of a mature, grown-up Christian.
2. Trapped in spiritual consumerism
Consumerism is a huge part of our lives, even though we’re not even fully aware of it. Everywhere you look, you‘ll find consumers trying to fulfil their wishes and desires.
I haven’t used the word “needs”, as consumerism doesn’t revolve around what we need, but rather what we want. An obsession with pleasing your demands is not a trait of truly spiritual people, but spiritual babies.
Matthew the Evangelist explains this in a powerful way, saying:
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” (Matthew 6:25 NIV)
Of course, food is a necessity, it’s a need, as well as water and clothes. However, it easily turns to desires, as you consume more than you need just because you want to.
Matthew’s question is something every religious person should ask himself: “Is my life worth as much as my clothes and the food I eat?”
Something that’s very common nowadays (and quite dangerous for spirituality) is spiritual consumerism.
Serving the Lord just for the purposes of being accepted by the outside world causes spiritual stagnation.
A perfect example of this is practicing religion by going to churches.
Of course, going to church is an important part of religion, but if that’s the only part a person commits to, he becomes a mere consumer.
This becomes more visible during the holiday season when most people focus on material things so much that they forget that Christ should be kept in Christmas more than any present or dish on a dinner table.
If a person doesn’t reach a deeper spiritual dimension than sitting in a religious building for an hour or so and sharing religious quotes on social media, without truly understanding them, how can they be called anything other than a spiritual child?
A truly spiritual person will live to serve God and “despise the other.” (Matthew 6:24 NIV) “The other” here refers to money and the material things in life.
3. Offended by everything
Of course, this doesn’t mean you are a spiritual baby if you defend yourself from evil influences that can do you great harm.
However, infants are susceptible to everything and young children are easily frustrated or upset if something doesn’t go the way they want it to.
Being sensitive is okay during childhood, but a mature Christian will never whine and cry or throw tantrums when life is not going their way.
A great psalm comes to mind which describes this statement perfectly: “Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.” (Psalm 119:165)
A peaceful person is the one who overcomes every obstacle to the road of salvation.
A late family member of mine was quite a spiritual baby for most of his life, as he went to church only to be seen by others and was easily offended by many things.
However, in the final few years of his life, he repented for all his wrongdoings and finally understood the importance of spiritual life and the message of Christ’s sacrifice.
Jesus sacrificed his own life for those who did him wrong and didn’t resent them as he knew they would repent for their sins after his death.
It’s never too late to start doing good work and cleanse yourself of negative thoughts, as it will bring you the inner peace and happiness you long for.
4. Jealousy of other people
Jealousy has never brought any good to anyone, but it’s not just an adult trait. Children are very often jealous of each other, especially when it comes to jealousy between siblings, which shows this is an innate characteristic, rather than an acquired one.
However, jealousy is very dangerous as it can easily turn into hate, as this passage from The Book of Genesis shows: “When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.” (Genesis 37:4)
Every mature Christian should take control of their emotions and not let the success of others disturb them. They should also take care of their children’s feelings and guide them on the right path of spiritual life.
It may not be easy, but the results are more than worth the effort.
5. Not being generous
Generosity is usually connected to material things like money, clothes, and similar. However, being generous doesn’t mean just giving things away to others, even though they are in need.
As we live in a materialistic world today, it’s very easy to confuse spirituality with material things, which leads us back to spiritual consumerism.
Buying things for family members can make them happy for a short while, but if you give yourself and your free time to your family and the Lord, you are the most generous person in the world!
Remember, material stuff comes and goes, while precious time with your family celebrating the Lord and His words makes you a true Christian and a source of Christ’s grace that you transfer to others, as well.
6. A lot of talk without action
“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?” (James, 2:14 NIV)
This verse from the Epistle of James tells us that there’s no spiritual growth based solely on words. The journey to salvation should be filled with good deeds, not only empty words that never come to life.
Just like Jesus sacrificed his life to be born again, a Christian adult should serve God, his family, and the community to earn his place in Heaven.
James says in a later verse “You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.” (James 2:24), meaning that the person who lives by the Lord’s words and serves Him properly deserves His mercy, not the one who just talks about it.
Also, don’t feel uncomfortable when you pray out loud, as the one who is ashamed of his spirituality cannot be a spiritual adult.
7. Can’t handle criticism
There’s no person in this world who knows everything and is a master of all skills. We all make mistakes and need guidance and constructive criticism in our lives.
If a person is easily offended by criticism or can’t handle anyone telling them what to correct, then they are a true spiritual baby.
This verse from Proverbs may sound harsh at first: “Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge: but he that hates reproof is brutish.” (Proverbs 12:1) However, it clearly states how important it is to accept constructive criticism.
It’s not shameful to acknowledge your mistakes or to find a better way of doing something.
As adults, we should take responsibility for our deeds, because our children and those around us will learn from our example.
The Lord is the ultimate master of life and eternity. His words serve as lessons on how to behave and do good in life.
God’s message is universal, it shows us how to be better people to ourselves and our loved ones.
However, our mission is not only to live by those words but to pass them on to our little ones, so your child can become a better person tomorrow than you were yesterday.
It’s not an easy task to be an adult and we all feel immature from time to time, but acknowledging that is already the first step to salvation.
Lessons about spirituality do not teach us only about being a true believer.
These lessons teach us that true believers serve not only the Lord but their community and family, as well.
These valuable lessons are being transferred to us, so we can spread them to others that are in spiritual stagnation.
Most of us will probably find ourselves identifying with at least one of the points of being a spiritual baby and that’s perfectly fine.
Spiritual development is achieved when a person knows what his wrongdoings are and tries to correct all that he can.
Don’t let spiritual consumerism take over. Being spiritual doesn’t mean doing a Yoga pose for social media or sharing religious quotes.
It means finding your inner peace and following the Word of God in your everyday life and passing it on to your child to make him a better person tomorrow.
Easter might be just the right holiday to think about your spiritual self and raise yourself from the materialistic world to the spiritual dimension.
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