1 And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. 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; 3 for you are still carnal.
1 Corinthians 3:1-3

Be forever childlike, but not forever childish.

The Apostle Paul was correcting the Corinthian church for its lack of spiritual growth. Although they have received the gospel with joy, they never quite mature in their understanding of it. This spiritual immaturity caused the Corinthians to show some poor judgement and made some bad choices.

The root cause of spiritual immaturity is a diet problem.

Instead of eating solid food like mature grownups, the Corinthians were still drinking milk like babies. Their slow growth necessitates Paul to teach them the basic truths of the gospel all over again. There is nothing wrong with learning the basics, but we need to progress beyond our rudimentary knowledge of the gospel if we want to grow a healthy spiritual life.

If you are not growing, then you are stagnant!

Stagnation breeds spiritual complacency and self-satisfaction. It’s when you appear spiritual on the outside but quite a different story on the inside. Sooner or later, what’s on the inside will break out and expose who you really are. This is why Paul called the Corinthians carnal babies—for they were more interested in gratifying their fleshy appetites than fully growing their faith and knowledge in Christ.

Paul, however, did not give up on the Corinthians.

He had hope for them to realise their mistakes and grow up. He assured the Corinthians that they, though carnal, God was still working on them through the revelation of the gospel. And Paul was rewarded for his labour of love—for when the Corinthians grew in their knowledge of Christ, they did not just regret what they have done but they repented of their ways (cf.2 Corinthians 7:9). Likewise, self-effort and personal condemnation will never lead to spiritual growth, but a childlike faith in Jesus will cause you to blossom and become fully mature in the Lord.

© Copyright Richard Tan, 2019.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version®.
Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.