It’s that time of year again…time to make resolutions to be better at something. We know the big ones – get in shape, eat better, learn a new skill – and we know that we should do these things and they have lasting, positive benefits to our lives. But why is it, that by sometime in February, we’ve given up on working towards them?
When we’re honest – we recognize that we give up on these resolutions because we don’t value the end product highly enough. We aren’t diligent in pursuing it, and we become lazy. This doesn’t mean that we do not understand or fully trust the benefits of exercise, a good diet, or learning something new…it just shows that we value them less than other competing priorities in our lives.
Did you know that the same thing happens to us spiritually? Other things crowd into our lives and we sometimes don’t value our growth as a Christ-follower or our relationship with God like we should. We can become spiritually lazy. It’s not a new problem for Christians, either.
After starting a discussion of Christ’s superiority as our high priest and reviewing some of the great benefits available to a believer who partners with Jesus, the author pauses to say:
We have a great deal to say about this, and it’s difficult to explain, since you have become slow to understand. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of God’s revelation. You need milk, not solid food. Now everyone who lives on milk is inexperienced with the message about righteousness, because he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature – for those whose senses have been trained to distinguish between good and evil.
Looking at this passage, it is clear that this letter was written to people who have already accepted Christ as the substitutionary payment for their sins. The solid food is the teaching that deals with righteousness, or right-living, before God. Because these “big babies” haven’t progressed to solid food, they cannot grasp the implications of the Greater Message of future partnership with the Greater Messenger.
Therefore, leaving the elementary message about the Messiah, let us go on to maturity
If you could travel into a mother’s womb and speak with the prenatal child, I’m sure he would be very confused as to why he was growing arms and legs and a mouth. He has no real, tangible need for them so long as he remains in the womb. However, we would desperately explain that while he sees little use for them in his present stage in life, they will become vitally important for the way he interacts with the world of his next stage of life.
The entire New Testament, except for John’s Gospel, speaks to us like we are the child still in the womb. The vast majority of the New Testament is written to believers and contains encouragement to put in the effort now to grow towards maturity…because the level of maturity we develop here and now will directly impact how we interact with the world of our next stage of life.
Now we want each of you to demonstrate the same diligence for the final realization of your hope, so that you won’t become lazy, but imitators of those who inherit the promises through faith and perseverance.
Keep at it. Keep going towards maturity. Not everyone does, but those who trust Jesus’ offer of partnership and patiently wait for it, they will obtain it.
That’s a resolution worth keeping, one with results that echo into eternity.