Monday, January 07, 2013

A Thought

“… by this time you ought to be teachers, [yet] you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.  For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the world of righteousness, for he is a babe.  But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Hebrews 5:12-14).

The writer is not admonishing his audience as much as he is encouraging them to be more purposeful, more intentional toward pursuing spiritual perfection.  By the tone of this passage and by that which follows in chapter 6, it seems clear the reading audience had reached a point of complacency in their own spiritual development by which they had (by their own standards) decided they had learned as much as they need to know.  It is a like a toddler who is determined to walk and jerks away from mom or dad and then immediately falls to the floor but hits her head on the coffee table on the way down.  She lacked the skills necessary to take those few steps (though we might applaud the confidence and determination!) but worse, the toddler was unable to discern the danger of the coffee table being so near.

This is the danger of pulling away from religious instruction too soon – or not participating at all in worship attendance and group Bible study sessions.  Having the “senses exercised” means much more than merely experiencing what we perceive to be good and evil in our own settings and in accordance with our own basic understandings.  We need only to look around and see the degeneration of the home and our society to understand that too many have “pulled away” from those “first principles” before they were fully prepared.  Stumbling from time to time is not the problem because that will happen, but a lot of heads are hitting an awful lot of coffee tables on the way down!

We must not be afraid nor too proud to ask for and seek out help in the fellowship of the Church.  It does not mean we are wrong and someone else is right; it means only that we take our spiritual development seriously and that we care for the well-being of others, understanding that the Church and the home (as well as our children and grandchildren) benefit from our devotion to things beyond ourselves.  Being comfortably conversant in the basic doctrines of the Church means knowing what we are committed to and why – and then committing fully.  This is understanding our roles as “sojourners” in the faith and the life-long commitment to sanctification, the pursuit of spiritual perfection.  Getting “saved” or being justified (depending on your particular denominational tradition) is only the beginning of an incredible journey!  So let us journey together!


No comments: