One of the greatest challenges in the life of any young Christian is spiritual immaturity, the lack of knowledge of the God we serve or little to no progression along the narrow path. We have graduated from youth group into "big church," but oftentimes with an inadequate understanding of Scripture. During the week we encounter arguments against the God of the universe, and all we can do is repeat phrases we learned and passages we memorized but never fully digested. These arguments often turn into a memorization or rhetorical contest between who can quote more of their favorite author.
But the real tragedy is not that we have a weak foundation to confront ungodly ideas. The tragedy is that we cannot say we truly know God as much as we want.
Think about this: God, infinite in every aspect of His being, is the most interesting, fascinating Person we could know, and there is no end to the knowledge of Him. He has allowed us to not only know facts about Him but also to have a deeper relationship with Him than with any human being. This is a mind-blowing truth the Bible says even the “angels desire to look into” (1 Peter 1:12).
When we see how amazing our position is before God, how could knowing Him better not be our one great obsession? Even right now, as I am writing, I know I do not fully understand how awesome it is to hold the position we do before God. If I did, I would be on the floor in shock.
But just as I am able to remain calm and keep typing, so we all as a generation too often remain passive and “go with the flow” of church-life and daily devotional soundbites. We are content to be spoon-fed a watered down gospel gravy when there is a plateful of solid gospel steak in front of us.
The writer of Hebrews saw this same passivity in the Hebrew church.
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil (Hebrews 5:12-14).
I don’t know about you, but that grates on my pride more than a bit.
As I think about my friends and acquaintances, it is so encouraging to see that I belong to a generation of Christians who, for the most part, are not satisfied with spiritual immaturity. Maybe it is our questioning nature or an ache for independence from the easy believe-ism “Churchianity” of our day, but, by and large, there seems to be a pattern of true desire to dig deeper and be challenged in our walks with the Lord. But when it comes to actually doing it, we generally slack off. It’s hard work.
If you, like me, desire to move on and grow up in the Christian life, we need guidance. How do we stop being babies and start acting our age?
The writer of Hebrews goes on: “Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment” (Hebrews 6:1-2).
He is saying here that we have no reason to believe our walks with the Lord consist of floating along in a lazy river of Bible fact. Eating solid food consists of cutting it up, chewing it thoroughly, and swallowing it. Mere head-knowledge of God’s truth is not enough. We must engage this truth, bringing all our doubts and questions, and wrestle with them. God is not afraid of our questions. Search each thread of gospel through the Bible until it ends. Get out your notebook and meticulously comb through each little passage until you have gleaned as much gold from it as you can.
But do not stop there. Harder work is ahead of you. Unapplied truth, even a lot of it, is worthless. When you look through God’s word, match it up with your life. When He says something about Himself, does your life affirm that truth? When He says something about you, do you make excuses or surrender to His loving rebuke and repent?
God does not leave us to our own designs. Our salvation is not dependent on how much we read the Bible or how well we applied it to our lives. The robe of righteousness we wear belongs to someone else (Isaiah 61:10). But this should motivate us to climb to even greater heights in the Christian life. Standing in this security, with nothing to fear and everything to gain, we are enabled to take the word of God in a firm grasp and plant it deeply in our hearts.