Tuesday, July 7

Grow up!

Scripture: Hosea 13-14, Psalm 100-102, Hebrews 5

Hebrews 5:11–14 There is much more we would like to say about this, but it is difficult to explain, especially since you are spiritually dull and don’t seem to listen. 12 You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. 13 For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. 14 Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong.

Observation

The author of Hebrews chastises his readers for their spiritual dullness and immaturity, and calls them grow up!  He cites the following characteristics:

      • They were unable to understand beyond the basics.  There was more he wanted to say, but he was afraid it would fall on dull and deaf ears.
      • They had been believers long enough that they ought to be teaching others, but were unable to and needed to be taught the basics again.
      • They were like babies who needed milk, not solid food.  Solid food is for the mature who have developed through training (spiritual exercise). 

Application

Two things:

First, the author expected believers of a certain age/experience to be able to teach others.  (See 2 Timothy 2:2, Romans 15:14, Ephesians 2:11-16).  This should be a goal of every pastor: to train people so well that they can teach others.  This was the purpose of the catechisms and, in shorter form, of the creeds and summaries of the faith.  For example, see Philippians 2:5-11 or 1 Timothy 3:16—both are short summaries of the faith that were most likely memorized and repeated and taught to others.  The idea behind all of these teaching aids is to make the main tenets of the faith simple, memorable and repeatable.  What do we have at LC that does the same?  How can we teach people the faith and following Jesus in a way that is simple, memorable and repeatable?

Second, maturity is developed through training, as well as teaching.  The word training translates the Greek word gumnazo.  We get “gymnasium” from it.  It was the word for athletic training, exercise, working out!  There are spiritual exercises we can do to grow and mature spiritually, just as there are physical exercises we can do to grow physically and get fit.  Failure to “work out” spiritually simply means you’ll stay immature, a baby, a milk-drinker, and unable to teach others.  One of my jobs is to help people become self-feeders, spiritual athletes who know how to work out and grow.

Prayer: Help me Lord be a better pastor who equips people to grow to maturity and teach others.