The difficulty of maturing is nothing new in the human experience. People have shirked responsibility since the fall in the garden. In Hebrews 5:11-6:3, the author of the epistle is pushing those Jewish brethren to embrace the spiritual maturation God demands of His children. They were in danger of falling away from Christ due to things they were suffering for the gospel (Heb. 10:32ff). It takes a mature mindset to tackle difficult things, and their lack of maturity had them in grave danger. The Toys “R” Us kid did not want to grow up because accepting new responsibilities is difficult. Much the way children are lacking many necessary life skills, the recipients of Hebrews were lacking the spiritual life skills to endure hardships.
The author wanted to describe in detail the superiority of Christ’s priesthood to that of Aaron and his descendants. When He gave Himself on the cross, He made eternal salvation a reality for those who obey Him (Heb. 5:9; 9:26-28). The trouble was, they had become “dull of hearing” (5:11). The concept was neither too lofty nor were they too intellectually dull to understand it. They could not grasp the concept because they were spiritually lazy. They were being Toys “R” Us kids and not putting forth the effort to become mature Christians. They had ample time to have grown to the point of teaching others the gospel, but they had sadly refused to take the responsibility. This phenomenon is becoming more and more common in the church today. The church has always had to battle the cultural currents in seeking to be spiritually healthy.
This spiritual stagnation has the church of today in decline. More and more congregations are simply growing old and dying without converting the lost in their respective communities. More and more congregations are capitulating to the demands of those seeking to change things simply to “keep up with the times.” So many of our congregations today have very few who are able to teach others because no one can teach that which they do not know. Is there an answer, or do we just watch and wait as the foundations of New Testament Christianity continue to erode?
There is an answer, but it is not an easy fix. I cannot help my intellectual shortcomings. The reality is, there is a legitimate limit to how much I can know based on my mental capacity. If some concept is beyond my capacity, I will never master the subject. The good news is, we are not battling inability, we are battling inactivity. The writer of Hebrews simply told them to “…go on to maturity” (Heb. 6:1). So, if we are spiritually stagnant, we just need to get busy doing the Lord’s work. Let’s get growing.