Isolation Introspection – 30 April 2020

About this 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 need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment

Hebrews 5:11–6:2

How interesting it is to see the author of Hebrews call his audience out on their intellectual laziness regarding their pursuit of God. He shares with them a gentle frustration because, by now, they should be better than this! Their conception of their relationship with God should have moved past the basics of the gospel, and if it had, they would have been more secure in their faith and more able to be ready to deal with the persecution and trials they faced.

This is the case today. We must not assume that we can “get by” on the baby food we first learned. God calls us to love him with all our mind, soul, and strength. This means we will need to develop further. We do this with anything and everything we truly love. Think of your passions and hobbies. You don’t stay at the elementary level of knowledge about them. “Real” sports team fans don’t just know the names of the most famous players on the team, they know the names of the managers, and even people who own the teams! Yet, we can be so lazy in our pursuit of God and of his Word. We cannot be surprised when we live that way, and then are overwhelmed, scared, and frustrated by the world. We aren’t equipping ourselves for it.

However—a word of clarification. Notice that the Apostle Peter uses the same metaphor in 1 Peter 2:2-3 when he writes, “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation—if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.” Notice that here, the exhortation works the other way: we should never lose sight of the simple truth of the gospel message: Jesus Christ died for me, and because of that I can know him and have eternal life. That “milk” should be what drives your desire for the greater knowledge!

It can be easy to carry ourselves to the other extreme of Christian knowledge and forget what it was that won us to Christ in the first place. We must, with the help of God, strive for maturity based on the original, simple truth of Christ crucified. The context of both books is the same: strength in persecution and persistence in faith in the midst of suffering. This balancing act is the means to that perseverance.

The “Isolation Introspection” series started as an opportunity for me to encoruage members of our Bible Study with daily reflections from the M’Cheyne Bible Reading Plan during the 2020 “Stay at Home” mandate in Los Angeles. I’ve moved them here so that they can be shared easily, and perhaps benefit others. I hope you enjoy!