We assemble with a small number of others as a house Church. I call it “Circle”.

Last night the question came about why so many people who self-identify as Christians not only refuse to discuss difficult questions of faith or answer why something is done the way it is in a denomination or congregation when the Bible says to do it another way, and why they even shut down those who dare to ask the hard questions.

A big part of the answer came from Paul who wrote to the Church in Corinth: “Brothers and sisters, I couldn’t talk to you as spiritual people but as people still influenced by your corrupt nature. You were infants in your faith in Christ. I gave you milk to drink. I didn’t give you solid food because you weren’t ready for it. Even now you aren’t ready for it because you’re still influenced by your corrupt nature. When you are jealous and quarrel among yourselves, aren’t you influenced by your corrupt nature and living by human standards?” (1 Corinthians 3:1-3 God’s Word).

People remain as infants in faith. Safe and nurtured with a bottle in their mouth they refuse to start walking, exploring, and growing. Or if they go that far they don’t enter spiritual adolescence and challenge tradition when it appears inconsistent with Scripture.

Even more, they rarely “leave home” and encounter Jesus on very personal terms without the trappings of religion and its doctrine, rituals, traditions and administrative paralysis.

That leaves very few who mature to become adults in faith, capable of teaching the deep things of Christ, able to love even their enemies, and endure the suffering and persecution which the faithful follower of The Way inevitably meets as an active threat to the master of evil.

As Paul told the Corinthians, their divisiveness (denominationalism) and jealousy (against another congregation or Christian which grows) show immaturity. How sad it is for the mission of Jesus when infants become teachers and model pettiness as a religious ideal. Paul clearly sets out that a Church leader must have reached maturity in faith, and that they “must not be a new Christian, or [they] might become arrogant like the devil and be condemned” (1 Timothy 3:6 God’s Word). Yet how many church leaders have I met who are driven by jealousy, especially against colleagues?

No, as scary as it is, throw away the bottle. Grow up and “leave home” and get serious about the hard parts of living for Jesus. Infants can’t carry a cross; adults must (Jesus “said to all of them, ‘Those who want to come with me must say no to the things they want, pick up their crosses every day, and follow me’ ” [Luke 9:23 God’s Word]).

Jesus doesn’t want to be a babysitter. Jesus wants to lead the army of the faithful against the evil in this world.

Get up. Grow up. Chin up. Rise up. Stand up.

“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, thought like a child, and reasoned like a child. When I became an adult, I no longer used childish ways” (1 Corinthians 13:11 God’s Word).