I can cringe looking back at my ‘fervour’ when I was a new Christian. The posts shared on FB was about anything and everything that had a Bible verse on it or that sounded ‘Christian’! Anything I heard that included a ‘bible verse’ was ‘gospel truth’ – yes the Bible says so right? Everything that even remotely glittered was gold as far as I was concerned.
Yet, I often forgot to realise that even things that are imitation jewellery by itself or those that are ‘gold plated’ are not the real thing! Jewellers test this by scratching the surface of the jewellery.
Now as I have being steadily maturing in God and growing in deeper relationship with Him, I’m able to ‘test whatever I hear. Like the jeweller, I have learnt to scratch the surface of the gold of truth and analyse the authenticity of it – whether it is indeed of God and in context of His Word or whether it is a verse that is applied to prove the point of the person using the verse… and also to some extent see the fruit of the one who is saying it. Does the person exhibit the fruit of the Spirit – patience, kindness etc or is the person exerting control or emotional blackmail etc? Is the verse used to build up or to condemn and tear another down or to make oneself feel superior?
In fact, I often cringe at the things I have shared or believed in the past as I realise the errors of my ways. I guess it’s like a child being stubborn in what they know and the adult just smiles listening to them as this is what is in their capacity for the time and season and knowing that in time to come the child will grow in stature and wisdom and knowledge too! It is a learning curve right?!
Yes there was a time when I had to be ‘fed’ with spiritual milk as I was not ready for solid spiritual food: Paul writes to the Corinthians:
But I, brothers,could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it – 1 Corinthians 3:1-2
Many people do hear a Bible verse in a sermon or on a post and affirm what they have heard as ‘gospel truth’ or ‘biblically’ correct. instead of scratching the surface of the ‘glittering substance’.
Studying God’s Word in context is crucial. We need to remember that the Bible in its entirety is ONE Word… God’s Word… We need to remember that the original script was NOT divided into chapters and verses but rather was as the different books that have been compiled together by the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Each letter or prophecy or book was written in a certain time for a certain audience for certain situations. Thus it is important to understand how each verse has been placed, in which context – New or Old Testament, before the work of Christ or after, in which physical, geographical, historical, cultural setting…
We need to analyse what each section of study teaches us about the nature of God, how He intervenes, how He deals with people, what the lessons were learnt by any individual in that particular situation and then prayerfully ask God to reveal what the application is for Christians in their own context and in our own circumstances.
Some of us are at the stage where we are ingesting solid food and teaching along the way, while some haven’t grown up despite the years of claiming to be a believer and need to be taught.
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God.
You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child.
But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil – Hebrews 5:12-14
We cannot judge someone else’s situation based on our own experiences as the walk of each person is different.
- Are you needing milk or are you needing solid food? What are you craving for? Ask God to reveal to you where you are at? If you are needing to be fed you will be running from one meeting to another, running from one program to another in the desiring to receive and receive.
When we are walking maturely, our ears are tuned to His voice. Jesus tells us My sheep know My voice. We test everything we hear against His voice – we scratch the surface remembering that at the end of the day no matter how ‘godly’ or ‘gifted’ someone is, they are human too. The enemy can use anyone to lead us off path.
As long as we are walking in intimacy with Him when at the stage of ingesting solid food, what we hear from others is then not basic food but rather the icing on the cake. The icing on the cake will just sit perfectly on the cake of our relationship with God!
- If you are the stage of ingesting the solid food, then are you trying to feed everyone with milk with pride or are you allowing God to reveal to you as to whom you need to feed or to whom you are trying to force milk down their throats? Ask God to reveal your motives to you.
May we discern everything we hear, allow the Holy Spirit to illuminate God’s Word and also discern where each person is at and humbly let God lead us in the ways we interact and fellowship with one other.
God doesn’t lord it over us = may we have hearts and minds that long to hear His voice above all the conflicting contradicting voices!
When it is of God’s will, your hearts will not be troubled
but His peace will transcend all understanding despite the storms of the situation!