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The axolotl (pronounced ACK suh LAH tuhl) is a biological enigma. Instead of maturing into adult form, this endangered Mexican salamander retains tadpole-like characteristics throughout its life. Writers and philosophers have used the axolotl as a symbol of someone who fears growth.
In Hebrews 5 we learn about Christians who were avoiding healthy growth, remaining content with spiritual “milk” intended for new believers. Perhaps because of fear of persecution, they weren’t growing in the kind of faithfulness to Christ that would enable them to be strong enough to suffer with Him for the sake of others (vv. 7-10). Instead they were in danger of sliding backward from the Christlike attitudes they had already shown (6:9-11). They weren’t ready for a solid diet of self-sacrifice (5:14). So the author wrote, “We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand” (v. 11).
Axolotls follow the natural pattern set for them by their Creator. But followers of Christ are designed to grow into spiritual maturity. As we do, we discover that growing up in Him involves more than our own peace and joy. Growth in His likeness honors God as we unselfishly encourage others.
Lord, I want to grow, so help me to go deeper into Your Word. Teach me more each day, so that I am better equipped to serve and worship You.
The more we live on a diet of God’s Word, the more we grow.
Because of severe persecution in the first century, Jewish Christians were pressured to abandon Christianity and revert to Judaism. The unnamed writer of Hebrews wrote to encourage them by affirming the pre-eminence, superiority, and sufficiency of Christ. As he embarked on teaching about Jesus, the writer realized his readers were not able to comprehend it because they were spiritually immature (5:12–13) and had not lived holy lives according to the instructions of the Scriptures (vv. 13–14).