Sunday, November 20, 2016
From Where Comes Maturity and Wisdom
UV 2127/10000 From Where Comes Maturity and Wisdom
But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil
Hebrews 5 v 14
Children are innocent, naïve, prone to error and they cannot easily distinguish between what is good and what is harmful. It requires years of patient upbringing by parents, teaching by teachers and training by mentors before they develop the discernment to distinguish between good and evil. Their bodies initially are not fully developed as infants. Their immunity is not high and they are easily prone to disease. Their diet consists chiefly of milk as they do not have strong teeth to chew. But as they grow older, they are given more solid food or meat so that they develop strong bones and muscular mass. They mature over time and are strong physically, intellectually and emotionally. Spiritual growth is similar. Initially, we are fed or taught only the elementary truths. But as we grow older spiritually, we need to move to more solid food or spiritual meat. Meditation is the equivalent of chewing. Practicing what is learnt from study and meditation is the equivalent of exercising. We need to meditate deeply on scripture which is milk for the young believer and meat for the old. The study and meditation as well as application of scripture in terms of practical principles of life will develop in us the spirit of discernment or the ability to discern good and evil. Such discernment will enable us to make the right choices in our lives, keep us from the pitfalls that befall the immature and undiscerning. The development of permanent and strong teeth and the development of strong bones, muscle mass and limbs are the equivalent in spiritual terms of developing effective tools and skills in understanding and applying scripture.
Scripture needs to be learnt and applied in such a way that it informs, educates and refines all our senses. Solid food will strengthen our frame and enable us to discern the will of God in a given situation. If knowledge of God is a candle, wisdom is the flame. We need to fan it into full flame. Scripture is useful for training in righteousness as it sets forth the eternal principles of integrity illustrated with models of good examples who reaped the rewards of complying with these principles and models of bad examples who reaped the pain and punishment of disobeying or disregarding these principles and precepts. Though we learn lifelong, we are not to be permanent learners or beginners. Our understanding or our skills in analysing scripture needs to keep increasing and improving. It should also be reflected in changes in our A, B and C or attitudes, behaviour and character. Our faith needs to be perfected or strengthened and made complete in all aspects.
Spiritual maturity will enable us to rely on the wisdom and revelation of the Holy Spirit rather than our own deceptive senses. We will not pander to the lusts of our own flesh. We will test all things to prove if it is truly good and not go by mere hearsay or appearances. We will learn to master the use of our tongues as we submit our tongues to the control of the Holy Spirit such that we do not speak a single unintended or wasteful word that might provoke strife or anger or distress. St James upheld the example of a person who has mastered his tongue as one who is perfect and able to control his whole body. Jesus exhorted us to aim to be perfect or strong like the Father and set an example for us in all things of how to be wise, mature, patient, strong and perfect. We might still make mistakes but it will not be the kind of mistakes we made as infants or children.
Prateep V Philip