The Discipline of Diet

Imagine visiting your favorite restaurant and noticing that all the patrons are seated at their tables drinking milk from large baby bottles. What a bizarre scene that would be! Yet this is the picture that the writer of Hebrews painted when he urged the Jewish Christians of his day to remain hungry for greater and greater Christlikeness. He knew that many were already becoming complacent in their faith. Those who should have already been teachers instead needed to review their ABCs all over again.

The difficulty for these believers with understanding biblical principles resulted from neither any complex subject matter nor the writer’s inability to clearly explain. Rather, they were willfully slow to learn. When the author writes that they were “dull of hearing,” the word for “dull” is the same one he uses later when warning them not to be “sluggish” (Hebrews 6:12). There he exhorts his readers, instead of tolerating such a slothful attitude, to be “imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”

Had these early Christians been dutiful souls who were listening carefully and trying hard to grasp biblical concepts, and simply having difficulty doing so, the writer likely would not have been so stern with them. But this wasn’t the case. He found himself reprimanding church members who should have been eagerly receiving the truth but had become apathetic. Their enthusiasm had waned. They had ceased to pay attention. As a result, they failed to understand, which prevented them from being further transformed by God’s truth.

If we are not vigilant, the same could become true of us. We cannot sustain ourselves on a diet of Rice Krispies, toast, and milk. It’s ok to like milk. It’s ok to have it as part of our diet. But it is not ok to drink it as the sum total of our intake. That is for babies, and we are not to stay babies. We must learn to eat more nutritious food and expand our palate.

Make it your goal to continually “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord” (2 Peter 3:18), so that you can grapple with the implications of genuine Christian experience. Do not be someone who listens to the good news of the gospel being proclaimed and says in their mind, “Oh, I know that. I can tune out now.” Do not be someone who considers Sunday morning’s sermon sufficient spiritual food to last the week. Do not be someone who splashes in the shallows and never makes the effort to dive down deep into the riches of God’s word. Be someone who loves the gospel and who, by God’s grace, never grows tired of hearing it; and who loves God’s word—loves to drink it in and chew it over, and is stirred by its truth again and again as you become more and more like its great subject, our Lord and Savior.

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

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