1 Corinthians 3:2 “I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able;”
A term often used in God’s Word is a reference to those who are more concerned with pleasing the body rather than walking in the Lord, this drive towards filling the appetite of the flesh is what it means to be carnal.
Some have described carnality as an attribute of unbelievers, although this is true, unbelievers are not exclusive to the plight of carnality. Living to please oneself is an expectation for a person who has no drive to please the Lord. If the Lord is not on the throne of your heart…you are, and with each act it is only another demonstration for appeasing the one you hold most dear…yourself.
Believers on the other hand have accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior and it His Spirit that dwells within them. It is the Lord who rules over the life of a believer and they are subjected to His rule by the way they live their lives. The process of dying to oneself is the pattern of sanctification which the Holy Spirit guides one through in becoming more like Jesus. Although Jesus rules in the heart of a believer, the flesh continually attempts to usurp the throne, having held the office previously, the flesh acts like a disposed dictator that wants to regain power.
For those who have not allowed the Lord to take control, the process of carnality causes the spiritual process of growth and maturity to bog down and if not properly dealt with, it leads to an underdeveloped ability to understand God’s Truth, leading to spiritual immaturity.
1 Corinthians 3:3 “for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?”
A brief survey of those who are carnal is a case demonstration in unrighteousness. Envy is reflected in covetousness and hatred, strife also has the signs of hatred or murder in God’s eyes, as well as a lack of unity among the church. When these attributes are demonstrated, the Lord is not preeminent in a believers life, the ego takes prominence and what is important to God takes a back seat in the heart.
If drinking milk is an attribute of shallow believers, what is spiritually sound?
Hebrews 6:1 “Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God.”
What is it that hinders someone from growing?
According to Paul, works that are founded in worldly wisdom and a lack of faith in God’s leading are directly attributed to a short sided understanding of God’s Truth.
“Spiritual maturity is measured in terms of persevering faith, not perfect behavior”Andy Stanley
The process of growth is one of an enduring trust in Christ as our guide and protector. Regardless of the circumstances, we trust that He is faithful wherever He leads us and we do not fear when circumstances don’t go as we expected.
It can be very difficult for a believer in Christ to give feedback to someone who doesn’t want to receive it. The more someone reveals character that is contrary to God’s character, the more defensive many people become. No one likes to be chastised for being a sinner or living unrighteously but for the one who desires to be wise, an honest reflection is often what we need. If you don’t know of anyone you can ask to give you this kind of feedback, the Word of God is sufficient enough in its ability to hold the light of Truth up to our lives.
“Maturity in the christian life is measured by only one test: How much closer to His(God’s) character have we become”Elyse Fitzpatrick
Hebrews 6:9-12 “But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner. For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”
The work of a believer is the work of God. He dictates our steps and leads us into the situations that He ordains. Through the process of seeking Him, listening to His instruction, stepping forward in faith to accomplish the task, and then watching Him be found faithful as you go, is the process of growth.
- The Lord guides, we follow.
- The Lord instructs, we listen.
- The Lord commands, we act obediently.
- The Lord tells us to wait, then we wait on Him.
It is all about Him, using you, to love others.
As you walk in the Spirit, you bring glory to Christ. Your life is a demonstration of His power when your life is dictated by God’s command. It is in the midst of going when God reminds us that nothing will stand in your way.
Mark 11:23 “For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.”
For those who lack faith and consistency in their walk, milk will continue to be their drink of choice.
For those who walk in obedience, with a full assurance of God’s faithfulness, the water of the Spirit is what continues to flood their life.
John 4:14 “but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”
Not only will the Spirit filled christian be filled to overflowing, others will be given opportunity to partake as well. The joy of the Lord emanates from the life of a believer who knows and walks with Christ. The fruit of the Spirit is continually being produced through their life.
Wine of Wrath
If milk is evident in the the nominal believer, water is made manifest in the life of one who walks in the Spirit, then the wine of God’s wrath is reserved for those who have rejected the sacrifice of Christ altogether.
How do you know if you are a true believer or just one by name only?
Belief is made evident by works. The fruit of the Spirit becomes immediately clear in the person who has been filled with His presence. The love of God overwhelms the heart of the one who has trusted in Him. The desire to connect with other believers becomes paramount, the connection is just too great to neglect. The conviction of sin is present when the Spirit of God rules and any attempt to tread contrary to God’s purposes can be very difficult.
Whatever spiritual drink you are partaking of, this can be an indictment against you or a confirmation of faithfulness.
Look closely, allow others into your life and give them permission to speak truthfully with you…you can only grow wiser for it!