Human beings are made up of three distinct components: soul, spirit and body. We need balanced physical diet to maintain our body but we also need balanced spiritual diet, which is the Word of God, for our soul and spirit. Unfortunately, the Word of God that is preached in many churches today is not giving believers the adequate nutrients that are needed for spiritual growth.
Our diet changes as we grow physically in life to suit anatomical and physiological developments in our body. The spiritual food for Christians should also change as we proceed in our Christian journey.
Spiritual solid food, as opposed to spiritual milk for baby Christians, help mature believers to live a life of self-denial, cross-carrying, facing challenges with joy, and focusing on the Kingdom of God.
Apostle Paul made a comparative analysis of physical growth and Christian spiritual growth: “For everyone who lives on milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have the power of discernment, trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil" (Hebrew 5:13-14 ESV).
Immaturity and the inability of Christians to distinguish good from evil is responsible for the manipulations and latent abuses in churches today.
Apostles Paul and Barnabas did not tell converts in their first missionary journey that by next week they would all become millionaires, that Jesus had suffered for them and that they did not need to suffer as Christians, that Jesus died poor in order to make them rich, that since they have received Christ that they were qualified to enjoy the Kingdom of God. They simply told them to prepare because a lot of suffering, persecution and trouble await them as they carry their crosses to follow Jesus.
The word of God has not changed. What has changed are the preachers. How long shall adult Christians continue to only drink spiritual milk? The greatest danger is that most often this milk actually harms the spiritual health of believers.
Apostle Paul in his letter to the Hebrew Christians encourages them to make a paradigm shift from elementary faith to advance Christianity because they cannot continue to remain spiritual babies their whole lives. "Therefore, let us leave elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith towards God and instruction about washing or laying on of hands, the resurrection of dead and eternal judgment" ( Hebrew 6:1-2 ESV).
Unbalanced spiritual diet of elementary doctrine has retarded the growth of Christians and is responsible for the childish attitude of those who are supposed to have grown to Gospel truth custodians. The mandate of the Great Commission has been abandoned globally and no one wants to take the risk to evangelize the unreached due to bread and butter messages in our churches today.
Many Christians are disappointed and frustrated when the rosy messages they hear from their preachers don't become reality. This is what unbalanced spiritual diet can do to God's people who have received the power to become sons of God.
New converts to Christianity should be taught the elementary doctrines but older Christians should graduate from these doctrines to embrace the cross and accept the Christian suffering teachings that are prerequisites for spiritual maturity and access to the Kingdom of God.
Oscar Amaechina is the president of Afri-Mission and Evangelism Network, Abuja, Nigeria. His calling is to take the gospel to where no one has neither preached nor heard about Jesus. He is the author of the book Mystery Of The Cross Revealed.