Whenever children visit relatives, they often hear this kind of greeting: “My, haven’t you grown!” This embarrasses them, but inside they’re glad they’ve outgrown babyhood. Not that babyhood is bad. How else can life begin? But it is sad when babies remain babies.

Sometimes mature Christians, eager to keep new converts from stagnating in their growth, make them feel guilty for being babies and rush them down the road to maturity before they are ready.

In 1 Peter 2, the apostle affirmed that spiritual babyhood is normal. Instead of forcing newborns to run before they can walk, he encouraged them to crave the wholesome milk of Christ’s basic teaching. He knew that as they continued to take in milk, in time they would move on to solid food and maturity (Heb. 5:14). What a joy to see that happen!

Several years ago I received a phone call from a friend, a former drug addict and now a Christian. “Hi, Chris,” I responded cheerily. “How are you doing?” A long, worrisome pause made me wonder, Had he slipped back? Then came words that uplifted my heart: “Growing, Joanie, growing!” That said it all.

I hope you can say the same.