You learn the alphabet early on, not so that you can forget it and learn it over and over again, but so that from that moment on you can take it for granted. —N. T. Wright
A child who experiences trauma or loss often faces developmental challenges. As stress enters her life, large levels of cortisol affect her cognitive abilities. It’s as though the pause button is pressed on mental development, so her body can focus on emotional survival.
Something similar can happen to us spiritually. We can be growing and developing in our faith and understanding of Christ, but then our growth stops as we try to deal with life. We were growing spiritually, but now we’re not because we’re just trying to survive. These are spiritual development delays.
Hebrews 5:12 says, Though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again.
The author isn’t giving us a guilt trip, instead, the Church is reminded that it’s time to help others understand Jesus. But they aren’t ready.
Elementary truths can be translated as “first principles.” Essentially, the author is saying, “You should be teaching others, but you need to learn the ABCs again.”
While the ABCs are important, they’re supposed to be a tool for greater things! When writing a paper, we don’t think about what letter comes before F or after J. As we mature, we take the ABCs for granted. Do we stand resolutely upon them? Yes! But we don’t think about them.
This is how we’re to interact with what we first learned about Christ. When the Gospel was first given to us, we learned God’s love, His gracious provision in Christ, and the promised indwelling of the Spirit. But if 15 years later that’s still all that we know, then we’ve been drinking milk for far too long.
Once again, there is no shame in pausing in our growth. Sometimes growth looks like doubt or questioning too. Let’s keep moving, grounded in the essence of God’s love.
Jesus, I am resting on the grounding of the ABCs, and I’m ready to grow as You lead. Let’s go! Amen.