Hebrews 5:13-14 “For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”
As a grandparent, it is a joy to see the steps and growth of our grandchildren. The newness of life and the wonder and awe of a child is something to behold.
But, when your children are grown, there are certain expectations. We look for a level of maturity that every parent desires their children to achieve. When they get stuck, or their path to adulthood diverted, it becomes hard to bear.
We are all in need of being taught that which we lack. Each of us is so unique that we cannot have a cookie-cutter approach to life, even our spiritual life.
As a child of God, we are commanded to be a witness of the gospel. We must make disciples.
Matthew 28:19-20 “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
The method in which we teach, train, and disciple, matters.
Some want to back up the truck and unload everything.
Others will withhold when more is needed, or walk more slowly when a paster pace is required.
Each of us is as diverse and our needs so different that we cannot expect the path of discipleship to be the same for everyone. What we can do is commit to walking with that one until they are strong enough to walk on their own.
I believe that is what God, through the writer of Hebrews, is trying to convey.
“…even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”
Having their senses exercised by definition means their perception, or how they judge a matter. Once taught, they will be able to discern both what is right and what is evil.
John wrote about the joy he received when he heard how those he had taught were now walking with God.
3 John 3-4 “For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”
What of that one who seems to have been left behind? Or that one who is struggling where others seem to have moved on? What then?
Our Heavenly Father likens the church to the body.
Could we function appropriately if our hand only developed as far as that of a six-year-old? Or one leg stopped growing while the rest of the body continued? We cannot fathom that ever happening, but I think you get the point.
There are those in our churches who feel like they have been set aside, or not readily accepted.
A single person might feel there is no avenue for them to find friendship or fellowship. Some because of some sin they have committed, might feel shunned because there has been no real acceptance even though confession and repentance have taken place.
Some may feel an imaginary wall between themselves and the pastor or leadership. It is human nature for us to feel comfortable around those who are likeminded. We assemble and segregate according to our comfort levels.
It is natural for the staff of a church to come together because of the close work they do to oversee the operation of the church. Those who work in a particular ministry might feel more comfortable with fellow workers than with others. It’s only natural.
But, if we become satisfied with remaining in our small comfortable groups, our enemy will use it to cause jealousy, resentment, division, and ultimately destroy the church with it.
Part of the restoration process outlined in the book of Galatians tells us to ‘bear one another’s burdens.’
Galatians 6:2 “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.”
But we miss a crucial element of the process when we do not come alongside that one until they are strong enough to stand on their own.
Galatians 6:4 “But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.”
This part of the process may require that we get our hands dirty. It may require a commitment of time, energy, or money that pushes us out of our comfort zone. It may also incur the scrutiny of those with which we feel most comfortable.
Why would we do it?
Because a part of the body NEEDS us, they depend on us to help them. I may not have the tools, experience, or wisdom to help someone, but I can walk with them to get the help they need.
In so doing, I am helping them get the needed help, and I am also learning what to do when others have a similar situation. This is the type of growth every church needs for every member.
A church of ‘babes’ will be easily swept away by every wind of doctrine, lacking the wisdom and discernment those who are of the strong meat variety would guide.
A church only accepting of ‘strong meat’ Christians, may be susceptible to forming a social club that does not allow the weaker brother into fellowship or membership.
Every local, New Testament church should examine every part and ensure that each element feels welcome, is being helped, and finds its place.
We may not be all we can be, but we can help one another in the spirit of wanting my church, my body of Christ, to be complete and pleasing to the Father.
Whether you are newly saved and a ‘babe’ in Christ, or a ‘strong meat’ Christian, we must go beyond our barriers and be accepting of those who make them part of our body to ensure we are whole and healthy.
Have a great weekend, everyone!