“By this time you ought to be” Heb 5:12
by Steven Chan
The Bible said to some believers in the first century that given the time that they had been believers, they ought to have a better understanding and competency with the Word of God.
“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” (Heb 5:12-14)
The inspired writer said that through the constant use of the Word of God, one ought to have one’s senses “exercised” or “trained” so as to be guided by God’s Word to “discern good and evil”. The obvious benefit of discernment is that one would then know how to make choices and decisions in life that will please and glorify our Creator.
But sadly, the mere process of time that one may have been a believer does not in itself ensure that one develops that level of “maturity” in the faith. There is no osmosis magic that somehow makes one a “mature” believer by just having been one for a long time.
What are we consciously doing to “implant” the Word of God in our hearts as stated in James 1:21:”receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls”. How does God’s Word become “implanted” in our hearts?
God told the Israelites to train up their children through a regular consistent process of imbibing the Word of God:
“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” (Deut 6:6-7)
The Psalmist expressed the blessedness of those who meditate daily on God’s Word:
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; 2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. 3 He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.” (Psa 1:1-3)
The apostle Paul exhorted the young preacher Timothy to do the same:
13 Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine… 15 Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. 16 Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.” (1 Tim 4:13-16)
Let’s learn from the history of the people of God in the Old Testament.
They saw the incredible power of God in the ten plagues unleashed by God on the Egyptians. They experienced the parting of the Red Sea that enabled them to cross safely away from the onrushing Egyptian army. They experienced God’s provisions of food and water as they journeyed to the Promised Land. Yet sadly, many of them did not make it to the Promised Land. Only those under the age of 20 when they were a Kadesh-barnea as well as Joshua and Caleb succeeded in gaining entrance into the Promised Land. Why? Listen to what the inspired Word says:
“Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, 2 all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3 all ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. 5 But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.
6 Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. 7 And do not become idolaters as were some of them… 11 Now all[b] these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.
12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” (1 Cor 10:1-7, 11-12)
Unfortunately, how long one has been a believer does not count for much if one failed to continue in believing, understanding and doing what God has said:
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.” (James 1:22-25)
Brethren, let us be diligent to make our calling sure (2 Pet 1:10). What are we doing daily to “implant God’s Word” in our hearts and to be molded by His Word to do His Will?
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