This Praise Thursday, we continued our series from the book “Can God be Trusted in our Trials” from Dr. Tony Evans. Today we started the chapter called “God Wants us to Mature through our Trials”.
It’s encouraging to look at the beginning and the end of the trials that biblical people like Job went through because we see that God is faithful. Sometimes, though, when we’re in the middle of a hard time, we can’t see where we’re going and so we can be tempted to quit or turn back in an attempt to ease the pressure.
To do this is to fail the test and thus fail to grow toward spirtual maturity. Since we all come to a point of frustration or discouragement at one time or another, we need a word from God to exhort us and spur us on. We have this word in the book of Hebrews, which was written to the Jewish Christians who were under the pressure of persecution and trials for their faith in Jesus Christ. The Hebrews were buckling under their circumstances, and they were toying with the temptation to chuck their christianity and go back to the familiar ways and rituals of Judiasm. As a result, they stopped growing and were like adults who couldn’t get past kindergarten.
The author of Hebrews wrote them in no uncertain terms, “Don’t quit! Christ is superior to anyone and anything else. There’s nothing to go back to, so stop playing around in kindergarten and start growing. The basic theme of Hebrews can be summed up as “Let us press on to maturity.”
This verse from Hebrews 6:1 comes at the end of a very enlightening section hitting on acuiring the maturity that we need to succede in our trials.
Hebrews 5:10 tells us that the author was getting ready to launch into a more in-depth discussion of an old testament priest named Melchizedek and the implications of his priesthood. The author of Hebrews realizes that the reader isn’t ready for the plunge into the deep end of the faith concerning Melchizedek, so he pulls back to deliver an exhortation.
“Concerning him, we have much to say and it ias hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.” This word ‘dull’ is taken from a Greek word that literally means ‘mule-headed’. It wasn;t that the writer couldn’t explain about Melchzedek, the problem was that the Hebrews couldn’t receive it because their spirtual comprehension had ben dulled by their stubborn determination not to hear.
The Hebrews did have time to grow and mature, because they were told “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.”
The book of Hebrews was written about thirty years after Jesus’ resurrection and the founding of the church on the day of Pentecost. By this time, most of these Hebrew believers had probably been Christians long enough that they should have been in their spirtual adulthood, but that was not the case.
Growth and maturity take time. As Hebrews 5:14 says it takes ‘practice’ to train our senses to discen the difference between good and evil.
The priniciple has huge implications for the issue of trials. We tend to think of these as short interruptions or momentary crises that will soon pass if we can just hang in there. Thankfully, some trials do pass quickly but many don’t. A long illness or a wayward child can lead to many dark nights of the soul and body. Only God can determine how long a trial needs to last to bring us to the level of new growth He wants us to acheive.
Thanks for listening!