Read This Week: 1 Corinthians 3
Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still 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. You are still worldly. – 1 Corinthians 3:1-3 NIV
Thanksgiving is coming up in a few weeks. People will gather with friends and family for a time to reconnect, fellowship, and of course, eat good food. At each place where a range of ages are represented, there will likely be a table for the grown-ups and a kiddie table. The kiddie table is for those who don’t possess the manners, maturity, or ability to eat the same food as adults. It is for those that need to come of age before they can sit at the big table and interact with the grown-ups.
In chapter 3 of 1st Corinthians, Paul decides to address the churches at Corinth as those at the grown-up table and those at the kiddie table. He is still talking about division and infighting, but he’s not distinguishing between followers of Jesus and those outside the faith in this section. He is now talking directly to believers who he sees as either mature or immature.
Paul writes, “Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly – mere infants in Christ.” He is saying that their behavior and actions indicate that they are not mature enough yet to handle what he wants to give them. They are still acting like the world and essentially like children who need to grow up.
This passage shows that a Christian matures by allowing the Holy Spirit to teach and guide them as they read and consume God’s Word. However, the immature Christian does not value reading the Bible or living by the Spirit. They are still very much interested in the things of the world. A mature Christian wants God to change them from the inside out; an immature believer wants to align God with their life and choices. A grown-up Christian desires the meat of biblical truth. A baby Christian still craves the milk of a bible story. A mature Christian is convicted and broken over their sin; an immature Christian tries to justify it.
Paul says that another sign of maturity and readiness for the grown-up table is the way we treat others. He writes in verse 3, “You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans?” The mature Christian practices love and good relationships with people. Immature believers are like children who enjoy disagreement, fussing and getting their way.
The whole point and outcome of walking and doing life with God is growth, maturity and being more like Jesus. Just as it is unnatural for an adult to sit at the kiddie table at dinner, it is unnatural for a Christ-follower to remain in the same state they were in at salvation. Just as it is unnatural for an adult to drink milk from a sippy cup, it is unnatural for a Christian to ignore the Bible and how to apply it to their life.
The good and encouraging news for all Christians, as outlined in 1 Corinthians, is that there is equal access to God, His word and His wisdom. We can grow and benefit equally from His Spirit and power if we give ourselves to Him. We can all sit at the grown-up table where mature people belong.