“Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. ” (Hebrews 5:11–12, NASB95)
This morning, reading through Hebrews, I hit this verse. The first thought was the normal one: there were immature people being addressed in this passage, and we have immature Christians in churches, and they need to get mature.
Except that, well, one of the absolute worst things you can do with the Word of God is look at the Word and then not look at yourself. We do much damage to others when we don’t look in the mirror first.
As I looked at this a second time, I began wondering: where am I in terms of having solid food? Am I really past needing milk?
Not that a little bit from time to time isn’t a necessity. We’re all helped by remembering the basics of the Gospel: Christ died for sinners and I am one. That we need each other, and just the overall need for time spent in the Word.
However, there’s more to the Christian walk than the surface of those actions. Let’s not confuse this, though, with pure academia. While there are likely no Christians that wouldn’t benefit from knowing more: clearer understandings of history, theology, language.
It’s the practical things that we need to dig deeper on. How does the Word apply? What are we doing with the knowledge? It’s not simply for us to expand our knowledge, it’s for practical, life-changing application.
How am I taking the Word into my life? How are we doing it in our churches?
Are we delving deeply into theology without internalizing the truth? Without doing anything to put into practice what we’re putting in our brains?
Along the way, a lot of us have internalized the mistaken idea that our minds, souls, wills, bodies, and whatever else are separable. That we can (and even should) learn things that don’t lead to action. That cannot be. If we are truly growing in Christ, our actions will follow our heart.