Today I want to mention two stories. The first is that yesterday, our friend’s wife came home after delivering her baby on Tuesday night. As I could not visit her or speak with her, I decided to give her a call and congratulate the new mommy. Both mother and father are on cloud nine! I am not certain about feeding times for the little baby, but we heard her cry. Babies normally cry when they are hungry or need to burp. Until babies are taught that feeding is “X” hours apart, they will want to be fed on demand … crying!
The second is that, while I normally mow the lawns on a Friday, I didn’t mow today because of the weather. The weather report on my cellphone app said we were going to have thunderstorms in our suburb. I went outside. The wind was strong, it was cold and the skies were rather black with rain clouds … so I decided to leave the grass until Monday because Saturday for me is an extremely busy day. It did not rain until late in the evening.
On Saturdays, I go over my message for the Sunday, cleaning it up before recording it, and once done, I spend a considerable time editing in all the Bible verses and the sermon outline. We also Zoom our children and grandchildren in Naperville, USA in the late afternoon. So today (Saturday), we were up at 6am and had devotions and breakfast before I cleaned up the sermon. I then decided to check the weather on the app as well as go outside and see what it looked like.
The grass was slightly damp, the sky was overcast … but it did not look like rain, so I decided I’ll mow the lawns and sweep the paving. To my surprise, due to the rains this past week, I filled up two large garbage bags with cuttings. As I mowed the lawn, I noticed the grass cut was a good inch lower than the grass to be cut. Lots of water … lots of growth!
As the baby grows when being fed milk and as the grass grows more rapidly when the rain comes, so does the believer grow spiritually when feeding (an old term was grazing) on the Word of God. But then … why is it that so many believers are not growing spiritually? It is because they are not grazing on the Word of God! We ought not to be surprised, though because the writer to the Hebrews understood this problem all too well … so much so that he addressed the issue.
Heb 5:11 We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. 12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
They were slow to learn … not because they were uneducated or lacking academically. The problem seems to be one of “intake” … grazing on the Word was neglected. You see, they were not young (infant) Christians. They had been around so long that they ought to have been teaching new Christians the doctrines of the faith (v12) … yet they themselves needed to be taught the basics of the Gospel all over again. And the reason comes at the end of verse 12!
This is the very problem we struggle with today too. The milk they needed as baby believers they either did not consume or they consumed without digesting. Too many want to get into the ‘fast track’ before they learn and understand the basics of the faith. And like the Hebrew Christians, doing this prevents spiritual progress.
What is interesting is that they seemed did not grasp “righteousness”. This gives an indication that they were so immature … so infant … that they could not differentiate between sin and holiness … or for that matter … they could not distinguish the difference between ‘good and evil’ (end of verse 14). You get the impression these people did not understand the outworking of the Gospel. They were not living a repentant life. They meddled in the church and they meddled in the world. To them they seemed Christian, but the writer is implying they require some serious Gospel evaluation to determine their true spiritual status!
A baby needs to be taught how to transition from liquid (milk) to solids (food). Unless the baby consumes and digests the milk, its system will never be able to handle solids. This is the same with spiritual food. Only once the Gospel is clearly understood, the individual will never be able to separate from willful sin and will never be able to live a repentant lifestyle that produces fruit that displays righteousness. The same story is true of grass. Unless sufficient water rains (or is watered) onto the lawn, it will stagnate, turn brown and slowly die. Sometimes there are water restrictions or few seasonal rains ,and without the grass doing anything wrong it dies … but this is normally not the case of a Christian who lacks maturity. Lacking spiritual maturity normally implies that the person had the opportunity of grazing on the Word and did not.
Here is a suggestion. Whoever you are … work through the Gospel message carefully and prayerfully. Stop at each point and examine yourself as to your understanding of the teaching, requirement or instruction. Then ask yourself … “Have I responded as is required of me?”
The reason I say this is because you can build a house without a foundation and rest assured that, as the various weather conditions (rain, wind, heat, coldness) beat upon the house, it will collapse … because the foundation is missing. The foundation to Christian life and spiritual maturity is understanding and responding to the Gospel correctly. Once this is in place, the solid spiritual diet may be pursued.
Dear God, thank You for the Gospel message. Help me to rework the message in my heart to ensure that I am not one of those who should have been teaching others but need a teacher myself. Please help me to discern good from evil and right from wrong. Grant that I be spiritually alert, eager to rise up into spiritual adulthood. Amen.