Friday, September 12, 2014

Hebrews 5:11-14 Bring on the Cheerios!

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.  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.  For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right.  Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong. (Hebrews 5:11-14 NLT)

My youngest grandchild, Georgia, now ten months old, got her first two baby teeth early on. Then next six came in all at once! That girl wants to chew on things! She is not satisfied any longer just having baby food. She wants to eat what everyone else is eating! Bring on the Cheerios! She’s even beginning to mimic words. She will say, “Hello,” “Dada,” something that sounds like “Mama,” and even “Nanny,” which sounds more like “NahNah.” These little milestones delight us. However, if when she is five years old this is all she can do, believe me, we would be alarmed! It would mean that she was developmentally delayed and not growing as she should. We would be bringing in experts to help!

There is a time, when we first come to Christ, that we are just overwhelmed by the fact that God is our Father, and that He has saved us, just as we were by His amazing grace. We will gladly tell everyone around us about what Jesus did on the cross. We could recite the basics of the gospel easily: Jesus, the unique Son of God, came to Earth as a man to die, taking the punishment for our sin on the cross; He was resurrected and is at the right hand of the Father, always interceding for us!

 Frankly, we should be marveling at this every day. The fact that He accepts us exactly where we are - with our strong wills, with our nasty tempers, in our addiction to drugs, or alcohol, or sex. Right where we are! Amazing. However, the writer of Hebrews tells us there is more. There is solid food waiting for us in God’s Word. More for us to know, more of HIM to know. While God receives us just where we are, He does not want to leave us this way. His goal is to transform us into His image. He wants us to be changed as we read His Word.

 Note in verse 14 that He wants us to do this through training. This would indicate a commitment to grow. It’s one thing to exercise occasionally. It’s another to put yourself through training. God wants us to exercise spiritually daily. He wants us to grow in our relationship with Him, to dedicate ourselves to learning who He is and what He wants us to do - how we fit into His Kingdom plans. This happens when we read through the entire Word of God - not just bits and pieces - and see the whole picture. Then we do it again and again, like repetitions in a training workout. And the truth is that we see something new every single time we read the Bible. This is the solid food that the author is writing about.

And it’s interesting that one of the outcomes is that we will gain the the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong. When we are babies in the faith, we don’t always make the best choices for ourselves. But once we dig in and start seeing who Christ is, we recognize that there are some behaviors that Christ followers are going to want to develop, and others that they are going to want to drop. This is the maturing process that comes from the training.

I get the feeling from this passage that the author is a little frustrated with this group, like a teacher might be when she’s trying to move on in a math concept, but can’t because her students are still stuck on their facts. Sigh. Let’s move on people! Bring on the Cheerios!  

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