Monday, July 8, 2013
What are you eating?
Heb. 5:12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic elements of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food;
Heb. 5:13 for everyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is unskilled in the word of righteousness.
Heb. 5:14 But solid food is for the mature, for those whose faculties have been trained by practice to distinguish good from evil.
There is an expectation that followers of Jesus Christ will grow in their faith. There should be a continual process of learning and growing until one is no longer a disciple, but instead one is the teacher. A real problem occurs when someone is unable to grow up in their faith to being a teacher. This was happening among the recipients of this epistle. Instead of growing in their faith they were needing to be spoon fed the basic doctrinal truths. They had not been able to grow up into eating solid food, but instead remained infants in their faith needing to drink milk. This causes great concern among those of faith for we all know that milk alone will not provide all the sustenance necessary for adults. Therefore people of faith are to work to grow and build on their faith until they are able to digest the very meat of their faith. This solid food, these deeper discussions of faith, are for those who have been willing to grow, to study, to become mature and through practical experience are now able to "distinguish good from evil."
There was a day when laypersons in the holiness movements read voraciously so that they would be well-informed regarding their faith. I have been amazed at the lay libraries that I have discovered and the depth to which these people explored their faith. I'm wondering if the same is true today, or whether we have become accustomed to enjoying "milk."
These days we are living on fast-food diets, not just physically, but also spiritually. We have embraced the speedy lifestyle of the world and therefore there is no time for us to truly grow spiritually. No longer is time set aside to read and to study the word and other literature that would bring us to a deeper walk with Jesus Christ. Our problem will be the same as that of the Hebrews. We will only be fed with milk and eventually this will lead to illness and disease within the body of Christ.
We should never be satisfied with a surface relationship with Jesus Christ. Nor should we be satisfied with the "easy" answers to life's questions. We should be willing to wrestle with the deeper questions and issues that we face on a regular basis. Sometimes it's a good thing to get frustrated with God and spend some time in debate because as a result we will be stronger in our faith.
How many followers of Jesus Christ truly know what they believe and the implications of theological trajectories which they are allowing themselves to follow? Popular Christian culture has a corner on the literary market and therefore, unless we can learn to be discerning, we will gobble it all down as if we were guzzling a bottle of milk and never realize that there may be some serious red flags in what we've just swallowed!
In a practical sense we must be aware of good and evil on a daily basis. Yes, there will be temptations. Temptation will change throughout our Christian lives. Temptation may not always be on a physical level, but also on an emotional and motivational level as well. We must be so aware of where we are spiritually that we recognize the temptations when they come our way. The moment that bad attitude tempts you to feel sorry for yourself you must ask God to help you and to lead you. You must grow to the point that you are able to distinguish the source of the temptations and immediately go to God for help.
The people of God must recognize that the spiritual life is a journey which requires discipline in able to grow into maturity. If we are still drinking milk, maybe we had better determine what it would take for us to be able to eat meat.
Lord, please help me to continue to grow in you every day. Thank you for the lessons of life that can help us to grow. Amen.