Baby Christians – 1 Corinthians 3

baby eating - Baby Christians - 1 Corinthians 3The apostle Paul starts dolling it out in chapter 3. In his usual style, he holds nothing back and lets the people in the church of Corinth have it:

1 Dear brothers and sisters, when I was with you I couldn’t talk to you as I would to mature Christians. I had to talk as though you belonged to this world or as though you were infants in the Christian life. 2 I had to feed you with milk and not with solid food, because you couldn’t handle anything stronger. And you still aren’t ready, 3 for you are still controlled by your own sinful desires. You are jealous of one another and quarrel with each other. Doesn’t that prove you are controlled by your own desires? You are acting like people who don’t belong to the Lord.

You’re probably familiar with this passage – and so am I – but something hit me as I read it today. As a Christian since 1975, something pricked my heart when I read “And you still aren’t ready” today.

In this passage, Paul gives us that famous analogy of baby Christians – those who can’t handle anything but milk. And it makes perfect sense to most of us. If you were to put a $20 New York Strip Steak cooked to perfection from the finest restaurant in town in front of a 6 month old … well, let’s just say it wouldn’t be appreciated very much. Babies need mother’s milk (or convenient off-the-shelf formula version) first. Then, you start giving them mushy oatmeal, then soft baby food. It’s a progression.

The same is true for Christians. We can’t handle deep theological truths at first. We must first focus on the truth of salvation and grace before we are plunged into a deep theological debate about the end times and partial-preterist views on the rapture and Christ’s second coming. Well, maybe that’s a bad example…

The problem becomes increasingly obvious as babies grow. If a baby is not given solid food eventually, they will not grow as expected. The same is for Christians. We have to feed our Spirits by prayer, meditation on the Scriptures, spending time with other Christians, listening to teachers of God’s Word. Otherwise, we will not grow properly.

Unfortunately, there seems to be less and less healthy Christians.

I came across a rather simple, but pretty good article on what a healthy Christian looks like. It’s from a Christian counseling center in Akron, Ohio. The article, entitled “How to be a Healthy Christian” was written by Dr. Richard D. Dobins. Here is an outline:

  1. Develop a healthy view of God
  2. Develop a healthy view of yourself
  3. Develop a healthy view of others
  4. Develop a healthy attitude toward life
  5. Develop a healthy view of time

It is this last point from Dr. Dobins that caught my attention the most. Here’s an excerpt from his article on this point:

The fifth ingredient of a healthy Christian life is a healthy view of time. There are many ways in which life may be unfair to us, but in our accessibility to time, life treats us all the same. Each of us has 24 hours a day; the richest person, no more and the poorest, no less. So whether I succeed or fail in discovering and developing the talents God has given me will largely be determined by my respect for the limited amount of time I have on this planet.

The apostle Paul admonishes us to redeem the time (Ephesians 5:16). What that means is that we have limited quantities of time and ought to “buy it up.” Look back over the last week and mentally list the things you had hoped to get done. Now recall the things you actually got done. Are the things you did less important than the things you left undone?

Dr. Dobins points out that the two biggest time wasters are the computer and the television. And, I’d have to agree. In my case, however, I don’t have time for either. Well, the computer maybe as I’m on the computer all day at work and I do lots of work at home on the computer. I think Dr. Dobins is referring to the countless hours of surfing and game play that wastes so much time (and I’d have to agree as I used to spend hours and hours in online gameplay that served absolutely no purpose but wasted time – but I digress).

For me, what little time I have left over is precious. I really have to be careful with my time. I can very easily get overbooked. I tend to say “yes” too easily, without consulting God, and this can easily lead to broken commitments, and broken relationships. I very recently had to renege on a commitment and it was very stressful. It involved not wasted time playing games or pointless chatting, but serving God in a very important ministry called Tres Dias. Had I prayed about it at first, I may have been directed up front not to get involved due to all the unforeseen events that were heading my way.

Many folks in the Tres Dias community will likely be reading this, so let me apologize for acting like a baby Christian. I SO wanted to be involved in TBTD #20 alongside you. I SO believe in your rector and the vision God’s given. I am jealous that I cannot be there, but God has me serving in other areas for now. My prayers are with you, more than usual. And I look forward to a good report of what God’s doing.

I want to be more like David. Just read the books of Samuel in the Bible. David sought God earnestly for every little thing, from what to wear to which direction he needed to walk that day.

Forgive me, Lord, for not seeking You on every little decision. I trust You with my life. I want my life to count for You and make a difference in the lives of others. I long for the meat of the Christian life.

peace,
e

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