But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
Beginning golfers have the habit of telling better players how good a shot looked even though the shot was in reality less than desirable. If a shot goes relatively straight, the beginning golfer considers it a good shot. We all catch ourselves using the phrase “it sounded good” or “you hit it solid” in an attempt to compliment or when you really did not pay attention. There’s not many dirtier looks than telling someone “great shot” after a 145 yard shot into a 170 yard pin.
Experienced Christians are blessed to have a diet of the “strong meat.” Just as experienced golfer knows the sound of a well-struck iron and the intended shape of a shot, the mature Christian has an ability to discern good and evil to a greater degree.
The level of justification for every Christian is equal no matter the level of maturity. The young Christian is just as saved as the 80 year pastor. However, the mature believer has the gift to be able to distinguish good and evil within the church, what is law and what is gospel, and a doctrine of man versus a doctrine of Christ. A bladed wedge which skims the ground and luckily lands on the back of the green is not a good shot. John Gill in his “Exposition of the Bible” explained, “some have arrived to a greater degree of the knowledge of Gospel mysteries than others, and to these the strong meat of the Gospel belongs; they are capable of understanding the more mysterious parts of the Gospel; of searching into the deep things of God; and of receiving and digesting the more sublime truths of the Christian religion.” It is a blessing to grow in the spirit and be deemed responsible enough to be exposed to the “strong meat.”
In the preceding verse at Hebrews 5:13, it was explained that, “every one that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.” Thus, “spiritually young” Christians should not be teaching the greater truths of the Book of Revelation. The “milk of the word” is the primary principles of the gospel found in the first four books of the New Testament. In order to be “skilled in righteousness”, it is necessary to have experience which takes time. This experience allows the believer to realize the concept of Christ’s righteousness and how each of us still fall short of God’s will each day. The elder Christian can discern the righteousness of Christ from the works of righteousness by man. Similarly, the experienced golfer can tell the different between a hook and a draw. To the beginning golfer, a draw is any shot shape that turns right to left in the air no matter how violently or how far left it goes.
A baby has a diet consisting of primarily milk because it cannot digest anything of more substance. The young Christian, while equally justified and saved as the more mature Christian, is unlearned and not as proficient has someone who has decades of practice in living and studying the word. Mature believers should mentor the youth in our churches so that they may understand the correct path of growth. Spiritual maturity cannot be determined by age. Not all youth people are on a diet of milk, just as not all older Christians are able to partake of the strong meat. Let us make an effort to grow daily and strive to be able digest the greater spiritual truths of both the spirit and the word. This commitment will invariably lead to a determination to take on a young person around us to guide.