"So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields." Matthew 9:38
Everything in life points towards God and our relationship with him. I am amazed daily at the ways God teaches me about himself through the simplest situations in life. God reveals things pertaining to our relationship with him through our relationships with others. And no where else do I see more clearly God teaching me his life lessons than through my relationship with my wife and children. As parents, one of the goals in raising up our kids is to teach them to be independent. Just this morning, my seven year old son Andy came to me asking for a new toy he saw on television. I told him that he could have that toy, but that he would have to do some things around the house this week to help his mom and I first. And so, the concept of chores was introduced.
We want our kids to go from crawling to walking. We start them riding on training wheels and then we remove the secondary wheels so that they can ride the bike on two wheels. As they enter into their teenage years, we impress upon them the need to get a part time job so that they learn the value of earning their keep and responsibility. Pushing our kids to grow and holding them accountable doesn’t make us unloving as parents, but it makes us loving. To not impress the need to be independent upon a child is to hinder their ability to function in the world when they become an adult. No parent wants to raise a child into his adult years and have that child say to the parent, “Can you continue to support and take care of me, because I don’t know how to take care of myself.”
We have the same situation going on in the church today. We have Christians who have been in the church since their youth, and now as adults, they are still asking questions like, “Can you disciple me and teach me how to know and serve Jesus? The apostle Paul addresses this very issue when he says;
“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! ” Hebrews 5:12.
There are so many professing Christians who claim to have walked with the Lord for many years that have little more knowledge than a fifth grade Sunday school theology. They still haven’t even grasp the most basic, elementary truths about God. And Paul makes the analogy between them being like a full grown adult who still has not been weened from milk so that he may eat solid food. Can you imagine if you met a twenty year old man who still took all of his meals in liquid form from a bottle because he had not learned to eat solid foods? You would laugh before calling the loony bin and think to yourself, “How can a grown man not know how to eat solid food? Paul goes on to say this;
“Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” Hebrews 5:13-14.
A baby cannot learn to eat solid foods unless the parents begin to constantly use it to feed them. Before a baby learns to eat solid food and to distinguish what it is, the child will put anything solid in its mouth. But by constantly feeding the child solid food, it begins to become acquainted with its tastes, smells, and textures. Pretty soon, the child stops trying to eat Lego’s and toys because it has learned to distinguish solid food from solid, uneatable objects. But to get here, the child has to put down the bottle and begin to venture into actually chewing, which at first can be difficult. I never will forget when we first introduced our twins to solid foods at one year old, it appeared as if the food was everywhere but in their mouths. But the more they ate real food, the better they got a chewing.
Notice Paul says in the verse above that those who mature in their faith are the ones who have trained themselves up by constant use. He goes further to say that this constant use trains them to distinguish good from evil. The implication here is that if you do not continue to grow in your sanctification and knowledge of the Lord, then you are vulnerable to fall prey to false teachings.
There are so many excuses people will use to justify their lack of biblical knowledge.
They will say, “To understand the Bible is hard….”
So was chewing food at one point in your life. Yet you pressed on through that.
There are many professing believers whom God looks at just as we would a grown man nursing a bottle. And here is the sad, convicting truth of the matter. We currently live in a day and age where we have more available knowledge than any other time in history. Have you ever thought about the fact that right now, you have all the knowledge in the world readily available on your smart phone? We have more books, CD’s, MP3’s, and information in general than ever before! Yet our generation is the most spiritually crippled. America is full of spiritual infants, and for proof of this look no further than the sinful things that professing Christians will justify in our world today. They are chewing on false idols…. spiritual Lego’s, because they have never pressed themselves to learn to digest the deeper things of the faith.
Congregations are filled people who have grown up in the church who’s deepest concern spiritually is that God comfort them or for the pastor each week to give them a verse that will make them feel better about circumstances in their life, just as a baby’s only concern is his own comfort. But when a child becomes an adult, he goes from being served to serving others. Too many Christians are busy looking for the next bible study, when they should be looking for the mission field. Jesus final orders to his disciples was for them to make disciples (Matt 28:19). To go out and serve others. Jesus wanted his disciples, whom he had taught, to now go out and become the teachers themselves.
If you see yourself as an adult who knows little to nothing about Christ, may I ask you one question? What’s holding you back? We have God’s word. Start there. And there are so many great resources to deepen ones knowledge and understanding of the more difficult texts in scripture. Bible commentaries, which are book volumes devoted to individual books of the Bible are wonderful resources! We spend money to pick up the newest tabloid magazines at the grocery store checkout. Yet all the while, lament that we dont understand scripture! Our money goes towards trinkets and hobbies and toys. Yet our primary chase in life should be the pursuit of the knowledge of God.
In the old testament, a sacrifice had to be brought before the Lord by a person in order for their sin to be forgiven. But as important as that sacrifice was to God, look at what he desires more than anything;
“For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings. Hosea 6:6.
How amazing is that!! More than anything in a man, God desires the knowledge of himself!! Knowing God is what pleases God! Do you want to please God? Then stop trying to be good! Stop trying in vain to be a good person!
You can’t be good enough! Christ can.
You can’t forgive others! Through you, Christ can.
You cannot defeat the powerful sins of your flesh. You and I do not hold the power of life and death, we can’t resurrect ANYTHING!!!
Because outside of the knowledge of Christ, you can’t do it! It is the power of Christ in you and through you that you will be transformed! The knowledge of God himself in you produces a new creation through you!! The goal is not to lead a life to see how many Bible studies you can attend. The goal has always been sanctification in your faith. The goal is the proclamation of the gospel, not by some people, but by all who would claim to be sons of the living God! Your goal should be first learning. Then your goal should be teaching others. Our goal as believers in Christ is the furthermost reaches of our world……to the ends of the earth. Are you chewing on solid food, or spiritual Lego’s? We are to go and make disciples of all nations. You cant make disciples without growing in your knowledge of God. And therefore, if you are not growing in your knowledge of the Lord, you are living in direct disobedience to his command for your life.
First you grow, then you go. That’s the adventure. That’s the mission. That is the Great Commission.