|But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. –Hebrews 5:14
In 1 Corinthians 3:2-3, Paul uses a metaphor similar to the one the author of Hebrews uses in the verse above. He wrote to them; “Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly –mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it…you are still worldly…Are you not acting like mere men?” Paul undoubtedly hurt the feelings of many in the church at Corinth, but I believe that he did so because he cared for them deeply and knew that they “were better than that.” He was rebuking them for their lack of growth, as a coach would do to a player that had great potential but was not exhibiting it for one reason or the other.
I believe that the author of Hebrews shared some of Paul’s frustration. The Jewish converts that this letter was addressed to were once mature, but had regressed for some reason. The author wrote in verse 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!” Ouch! How humbling it must have been for them to hear that.
For some strange reason, as I was typing the last sentence, I got an image of Michael Jordan in my head. Imagine if Michael Jordan, who is, in my opinion, the greatest basketball player to have ever played the game, came back to play and could barely even dribble or shoot the ball, what do you think his coach would say? I believe he would say something similar to what the author of Hebrews wrote.
Going back to my sports analogy; an athlete only gets better when s/he consistently practices and learns what to do or not to do. If an athlete, even Michael Jordan, being really good at what s/he did stopped practicing, their skill level would deteriorate and they might eventually find themselves at an amateur level and unable to compete with others that are at the level they once were. If you don’t believe me, ask some retired athletes who stopped working out and practicing whether they can still compete in leagues they once belonged to.
In our Christian walks, we are like athletes, and it behooves us to train ourselves by constant use of the word of God coupled with our faith. We ought to assimilate what we hear and read in the word of God and not become like the man that James describes in James 1:22-25 who listens to the word but does not do what it says. Laziness will rob us of our faith! A lackadaisical attitude about our walks with the Lord will rob us of our faith! Hearing the word and not doing what it says will rob us of our faith!
I charge you this morning dear friends with the words of the author of Hebrews in verse 11 to 12 of chapter 5: We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. (Read Hebrews 11 for examples of such people). Consistently read the word, practice the word, and live the word, and you will keep fit and grow in maturity in the Lord.
Grace and peace be with you.
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