THE SOURCE OF LEARNING
Where do your skills, wisdom and knowledge come from? Did someone else teach you or were you just a "natural?" Certainly we must learn from others. A doctor cannot simply begin practicing medicine or, God forbid, perform surgery. He must attend years of school and then intern under the watchful eye of a an experienced doctor.
It is a huge error to think that ourselves capable to perform complicated tasks without the input of others into our lives!
It is equally erroneous to think that we will become great and successful if we remain in this type of mentoring relationship forever.
You may have had someone drive you to a place several times. Along the way, you talked, enjoyed the conversation and the scenery. Although you have been to that place several times, have you ever noticed that you don't know how to get there on your own?
Why? Because you merely observed! Don't things appear easier when someone else is doing them?
I have watched an artist paint on a canvas. I said to myself, "That looks easy." But when I actually tried to paint myself, let's just say the results were less than stellar!
We may watch surgeons, leaders, athletes, speakers, dancers, musicians and artists utilize their skills and talents many times, but the aged among us know that, so often, it is not as easy as it looks!
To become great requires learning and then putting what we learned into practice!
It is the same way with God!
When we first come to God, we need someone to point us the way, to teach us and to mentor us. It may be in an official mentoring capacity like a sponsor in an addiction program. It may come from a pastor, leader or member of a congregation. Or, it may start from listening to Christian radio, reading Christian books or simply encountering another along the way.
We may have a longer, permanent of even lifetime relationship with some Christian "mentors." For whatever reasons, they have remained in our lives and still impart wisdom, influence and inspiration to us!
Yet at some point, God wants us to grow beyond the state of knowing him only through another!
1 And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ.
2 I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able;
1 Corinthians 3:1-2
A "babe" is fed by his parents. No effort to eat is required of him! Yet at some point, he is expected to raise his food with his fork and place it in his mouth. In the beginning, he may still require assistance until he masters the skill, but eventually will be expected to do so without any help!
12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.
13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe.
14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who BY REASON OF USE have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
Notice that both Paul and the writer of Hebrews chastise their readers, not for needing to be fed, but for remaining in that state! At some point, we must grow beyond "second-hand" Christianity.
The writer of Hebrews rebukes his readers in four areas:
1. Needing others to teach them again the first principles of the oracles of God!
- God will always speak to us through others.
- But, as we grow, it should become a secondary source of learning rather than the primary one!
2. Partaking only of milk!
- Ater being a Christian for many years, we should be able to move on from Christianity 101!
- We should be able to receive some of the deeper, more challenging or even somewhat perplexing
aspects of God.
3. Being "unskilled in the word of righteousness!"
- As we grow, we should become skilled in understanding the Bible.
- Too many are still receiving their knowledge of God from other sources, i.e. daily devotions,
books, sermons, etc.
- There is nothing wrong with these resources, per se, but God wants us to learn to hear from Him
directly from His word!
15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15-17
4. Not exercising their spiritual senses BY REASON OF USE!
- This lack of development of the spiritual senses results in an inability to discern both good and
- If we never use one of our muscle groups, they will atrophy, resulting in weakness and uselessness
of those muscles!
If we simply agree with God's ways, we will remain weak! I can believe that running, lifting weights, etc will help me get in shape. Until I actually EXERCISE and USE my muscles, I will not grow stronger!
In the same way, I must exercise and practice obedience to God in order to grow. I must be diligent to seek for God's approval and learn to RIGHTLY DIVIDE the Word of God!
16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
17 THAT THE MAN OF GOD MAY BE COMPLETE, THOROUGHLY EQUIPPED FOR EVERY GOOD WORK.
If we want to be men and women of God, it is clear that we cannot get there through "second-hand Christianity!" Each person must learn to seek God for himself or herself!
We must individually learn to hear from God through His Word and His Spirit. We must also practice doing the Word of God - there can be no growth to maturity without it!
I do not want to discourage new believers from seeking help to learn the things of God. I also do not want to imply that we will one day arrive at such a high spiritual place that we no longer listen to others. God has ordained that He will speak some things to us only through others!
The more understand the Word of God, the more we will be able to discern if what another speaks to us is from God or not. We should always listen with a gracious spirit and never with a prideful attitude!
10 Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea...
11 These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.
This is the same path we must all follow to properly judge if the words of a man are scripturally accurate or not:
1. Become skilled in the Word of righteousness (The Bible).
2. Regularly exercise yourself diligently to do what the Bible teaches.
3. Receive the message of others kindly and with all readiness.
4. Search the Scriptures daily "to see if these things are so!"
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