Signs Of Immaturity

Some people never really grow up. It’s like the bumper sticker says – “You’re only young once, but you can be immature forever.”

Dealing with immature people is never fun. Just because someone has been a Christian for five, ten or twenty years doesn’t mean they are a mature believer. It’s amazing to me that people can hang around the church and other believers but never really grow in their own faith.

The writer of Hebrews offers three ways to help spot the immature believer.
First, they have a hearing problem. “About this we have much to say and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.” (Hebrews 5:11) It’s not just toddlers and teenagers who have this condition, it’s a sign of immaturity when people refuse to listen or understand what someone is trying to teach them.

The second sign that people are still immature is that they can’t help instruct others; “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God.” (Hebrews 5:12) As believers we should be able to help lead someone else to Christ, we should be able to encourage others with Scripture, we ought to be quick to model prayer and godly living. But the immature believer forever needs to be reminded of the basics.

Finally, the immature believer lacks discernment. “But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” (Hebrews 5:14) Those who aren’t growing are not open to the Spirit’s leading and teaching. They aren’t worried about what is right and wrong and how to tell the difference. So they get focused on things which are not healthy for them.

What’s the solution? The writer of Hebrews wants them to “go on to maturity” and understand the deeper things of Christ. The writer encourages them to get nourishing food from Scripture, to get sufficient exercise by applying their faith to daily living and to develop a keen ability to judge right from wrong.

The bumper sticker may be right – some people will remain immature forever. But for believers in Jesus arrested development and lifelong immaturity isn’t an option. It’s time to grow up.