The Greatest Tragedy in the Christian Church
- Wednesday, May 30, 2012
The Greek word translated here as “slow to learn” is often translated as “lazy.” These young Christians were lazy. The writer of Hebrews expected them to grow up, learn the foundational truths, and be well on their way to maturity. But by their own choices, they’d quit. They were stymied, moving backwards on their spiritual journeys.
Peter pleaded with his hearers to grow up. As infants, they could handle only milk. He encouraged them to grow up so they could chew on the deeper things of God (1 Peter 2:2).
Paul declared that Christians who refuse or neglect to grow up are in danger of becoming hardened and insensitive to the promptings of God (1 Corinthians 3:1-2).
Baby Christians, who choose to remain babies, do so for many reasons.
- Some drop out early because they can’t handle the persecution that comes with following Christ.
- Others drop out early because earthly distractions are so alluring.
- Some babies aren’t lazy at work or at home or with their hobbies; but they are lazy and inattentive to spiritual things. The Bible is to be studied and learned diligently. The spiritual life is to be cultivated and lived with endurance and consistency.
- Some are proud — so full of themselves that they rarely seek the Father’s guidance.
- Others imagine that whatever they don’t already know and experience is not really necessary.”
- But, far and away, the reason most spiritual children fail to mature is because the cost is too high.
Jesus said to potential followers, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me (Luke 9:23). Where did Jesus take His cross? To Golgotha. What did he do with it there? He died on it. So, must we.
Dietrich Bonheoffer: "When Jesus Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die."
My mom refused to pay the price and the last years of her life were pain and misery.
In the latter days of her life she refused to use her walker. It wasn't long until she fell and broke her hip. Shortly after the surgery, she was in agony. Nevertheless she was forced to get up and walk the hospital hallways in order to rehabilitate her rapidly deteriorating muscles. The alternative was never to get out of bed again.
During the first session with the physical therapist, my mom yelled again and again, “Stop it! Stop it! You’re hurting me!” The young woman patiently explained that she had done this many times and knew what was best. My mom replied, “You do not know best. I know better than you do what I need!” She refused to get out of bed.
Later that night, I was exercising Mom’s leg. She was not happy. She wanted to be left alone. No matter how I moved it, she hurt; she cried out in pain; she begged me to stop. Then, she started calling me “Idiot!” I was shocked! She had never called me names in my life!
I patiently explained how I loved her too much to stop — even if it did hurt. She looked at me with anger and said slowly and deliberately: “And I thought you were the good son.”
Mom chose not to tolerate the pain necessary for a good recovery. The cost was too high! She walked with a painful, shuffling gait for the rest of her life.
Fortunately, not a few choose to go on to maturity at any price and they produce fruit — and a lot of it (Matthew 13:20–22).
According to Jesus there are at least three levels of spiritual maturity. He said to Peter: I am a Shepherd; you be a Shepherd, too. … Feed my Sheep. … Tend my Lambs."
Jesus has sheep, lambs and needs shepherds to mature them.
God designed spiritual growth to move through three specific, well-delineated stages. In 1 John 2:12–14, John spoke to spiritual children, spiritual young men and women, and spiritual mothers and fathers.
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