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Monday, January 21, 2013

White-Haired Babies

Hebrews 5:11-14 (ESV)
11 About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, 13 for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. 14 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. 

Some people think that their age makes them mature. The marketing world uses the word "mature" to describe them because "old" has become offensive. But many church leaders know the difference between maturity and getting older for many churches are filled with white-haired babies who have grown very little despite their many years of knowing the Lord.

You see, I struggle with people who come to church regularly but do not apply anything they have heard to their own living. They do not have a biblical world view. Many times my sermons make absolutely no sense to them when I speak of their spirits being made alive and able to respond to the the Holy Spirit. They do not understand that benevolent work through a civic organization fails to share the gospel message.  They participate freely in the activities of their co-workers and friends without any thought of whether their activities violate their commitment to Christ. They adopt the world's view of morality and swing whichever way the group they are in goes. They don't know the purpose of church and only read their Bibles when they are looking for a way through a crisis. They live so closely to the world that they cannot seem to escape being just like it. 

These people have claimed to be believers long enough to teach others but they are always in need of being taught the same things over and over because they never seem to get them. Church carries no importance. They only decide to come to church if it is expected like at Christmas and Easter or if there is nothing else going on. It is a social activity at best.

So, I've griped enough, right? I would like to know what to do. I would like to know that these people who have become dull in hearing. They do not understand the constant practice of distinguishing good from evil. Therefore, they cannot grow as believers into maturity.

Should these people be treated as those who do not know Christ? The writer of Hebrews didn't treat them this way though it would be naive to think that all those who claim to know Christ are believers. (Jesus addresses that in Matthew 7.) I genuinely believe that most of them are believers. They just don't grow.

I have interviewed many people during my time in the ministry. I have found some people who claim to have twenty years experience in the ministry really only have one year repeated twenty times. They have never worked beyond what they do within the first year of their ministry. Once established, they just repeat what they have done over and over.

The question I have to ask myself is: Why does anyone want to grow in their walk with Christ? My answer is to become His glory. I want and need my Lord's support. Why would He support me if I am not seeking Him?

The next question is: Why do those who have not grown fail to desire growth? This is the bigger question.  I'm afraid I am so far removed that I don't know the answer. 

Years ago in a counseling session with a married couple the counselor said, "Next week . . . ."

The husband interrupted, "There will be no next week. We're not coming back. I'm as happy as I want to be in my marriage." His wife didn't look so sure of this.

Unfortunately, I'm afraid this may be the answer for those who never grow in their walk with the Lord. They are happy with the way things are.

2 comments: said...

Maybe I am being narrow-minded, but I cannot help but think we are all profaning the grace of God.  We take God for granted because God is long-suffering.  Somehow, we deceive ourselves thinking that God will understand.  We are just presumptuous. Why are we like that? Because God does not seem to act against us, in real-time or quickly enough? Nothing happens-what, so don't bother-lah!?  We do what a Chinese saying, says - we feed the good intention (of God) to the dogs. We just somehow feel we can be,  not so bothered with God; God wouldn't mind-lah! And so, we go on living life, the way we like or find it convenient or expedient to do.  We bring God down to our level, or worse still, down to the even lower level.  We say in our mind, I am already a Christian-what; I have said the Sinner's Prayer-what, and I am baptized-what; that's enough-lah; I get to Heaven, eventually, right!?  That is what so many of them say-what; even the mega-church pastors said that-what; I cannot lose my salvation; I am already a Christian, I will go Heaven, regardless-what. These overly grace mega-church pastors, they kept saying it is all God's part, none our part-what; God, they say, is faithful-what.  They say Scripture said nothing can separate His love for us-what.  Aha, so many Christians are nonchalant about following  what the Bible said-what, and lives still go on-what; so  many pastors don't even say anything-what. Why should I be bothered, and self-restrict myself! God does not mind-one-lah!

What knowledge of God do we have? How much do we really appreciate of the love of God; what He has done? How much do we really love Him? How profaning a lot, we are!  

Lord, I am no better.  If not for your long-suffering, I would be destroyed, won't I.  Thank you, Lord, you have not done that to me. Lord, I must not just say, only, but to get down to doing what you want.  Help me, Lord, to do that - live to please you. Help this silver-haired baby to grow.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions

Deb Willbefree said...

As I read this post, it reminded me of a book I am currently reading by Andrew Murray, "The Master's Indwelling." If you haven't already read it, you may enjoy it. If you have a kindle or a free kindle app on your computer, you can get it for under $2.

The other thing I thought was--and I say this with a gentle voice after reading 3 of your posts in a row (newest to oldest)--Pastor, you need to have some time away. I don't care what's going on at church, they can spare you for a few days. Take a break. Go on a quiet retreat and allow the Lord to minister to you. It's time to take a deep breath and rest in the Lord.

:) I'm sorry that I am presumptous. It's a blessing and a curse. :D