(1Pe 2:2,3) As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
I am writing this for open encouragement to myself and my household so that we might examine ourselves. It is time for a spiritual examination. It can be hard if not harder than the physical one. It is a lost art that I have grown negligent of during seasons of my life and I ended up grieving the Holy Spirit of God and hurting the ones I loved. Fortunately for those around me and myself I didn’t grow totally deaf and still heard God during those times and found God to be faithful in chastising me and granting me repentance. What a loving faithful God we have.
So I thought I would just share some passages and a few short thoughts that have kept me from totally losing it and going completely off the rails a few times in life. God always remained faithful and kept telling me where I needed to be and what I needed to do even if I didn’t want to listen to him. I just didn’t want to listen sometimes. So metaphorically God patiently would make me march another time around the mountain and dessert to teach me about my rebelliousness and His goodness as he did with the Hebrews after the great Exodus from their bondage in Egypt. One scripture that always comes to my mind for examination is 2 Corinthians 13:5. After I note that passage I will just keep on posting others and hope you are edified.
2Co 13:5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!
The Lord’s table is a great place for this examination and as a means of Grace it is quite effective to ponder upon anytime.
1Co 11:27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord.
1Co 11:28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.
1Co 11:29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.
1Co 11:30 That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.
1Co 11:31 But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged.
1Co 11:32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.
1Pe 4:17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?
Heb 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
Heb 12:2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Heb 12:3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.
Heb 12:4 In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.
Heb 12:5 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him.
If the Lord is not prodding your conscience about sin or encouraging you in righteousness then you should be fearful He isn’t chastising you for acting sinfully or encouraging you in your time of abiding. God loves to encourage us by His word and he is faithful to convict us when we are out of line. He leads us in paths of righteousness for His own names sake according to Psalm 23:3. If we do sense conviction, encouragement, and prodding we have much to rejoice for since God is our Father. If we are not sensing a prodding or a nagging conscience when we are acting sinful we should be greatly concerned that the Lord is not our Father and that we might be bastards concerning the faith. The reason why that is true is because the very essence of Grace is active and influential in a child of God’s life. It is divine empowering influence from the Spirit of God witnessing and encouraging us that we are the Children of God as we cry out Abba Father from our hearts. Let’s confirm some of what I have just mentioned with what the writer of Hebrews says.
Heb 12:6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”
Heb 12:7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?
Heb 12:8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.
Another thing I like to consider in light of this is the Parable of the Sower and the Seed. Jesus gives us a lot to understand here in this parable as he compares the word and soil with our intake of His Word and our lives. We all receive the word at some point of our lives. When we receive it and it bares fruit we have much to rejoice over. If we don’t bare fruit we should be alarmed. We should try to consider why it isn’t or hasn’t bore fruit if we have heard it.
Mar 4:3 “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow.
Mar 4:4 And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it.
Mar 4:5 Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil.
Mar 4:6 And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away.
Mar 4:7 Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain.
Mar 4:8 And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.”
Mar 4:13 And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables?
Mar 4:14 The sower sows the word.
Mar 4:15 And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them.
Mar 4:16 And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy.
Mar 4:17 And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away.
Mar 4:18 And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word,
Mar 4:19 but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.
Mar 4:20 But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.”
Mar 4:21 And he said to them, “Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket, or under a bed, and not on a stand?
Mar 4:22 For nothing is hidden except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret except to come to light.
Mar 4:23 If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”
Mar 4:24 And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you.
Mar 4:25 For to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”
The Christian life is about a reconciled relationship between God and man. Its basis is the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is about being conformed to the image of Christ which is a long and hard process. It is a joyous one because it is about being reconciled to God (solely based upon His work of earning our salvation and not our earning it) and establishing a familial relationship with Him. But the process of being conformed to Christ’s image varies from person to person and some of us experience seasons of life when we wish we had not been called by Christ at all. I know that is hard for some people to understand but it is true. Some of us have acted pretty sinful and dealt with spiritual wickedness that is life draining. As examples I will mention King David in Psalm 51 and Elijah in 1 Kings 19. But God has called us to Glory and is doing a work in us if we are called.
One important sign of that calling is that we grow in our desire for the sincere milk of the Word as it is called. As a newborn baby desires milk at feeding time a Christian should desire to hear and take in God’s word. If that desire is gone something is wrong. Either sin has choked a lot of life out of an individual and they are spiritually anemic or the individual is simply a spiritual bastard who doesn’t have God for their spiritual father. Both are situations which should invoke great fear but the later should have more urgency placed upon it for seeking a remedy since it leads to a worse consequence for not heeding the warning signs. Eternity without God will hold nothing good for that individual. Nothing good! No good at all. No relief. They only have misery to look forward to and separation from everything good and blessed. And that is for all eternity after they pass from what life they had here.
So let me make a simple recommendation at this point. Jesus said that man cannot live by bread alone. We are to live by every word that proceeded from the Mouth of God according to Him. Let’s see if we can first confess what God says about our sin and seek forgiveness. 1 John 1:8-10 was placed in His book for a reason.
1Jn 1:8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
1Jn 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1Jn 1:10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
In response to His word above we can all probably just call out to him the same way, “Lord, Please forgive me for my neglect of you and your word and for following my sinful desires.” He knows we need this promise concerning confession and forgiveness. After that prayer of confession let us stir up that natural desire that is found in New Creatures of Christ. As newborn babes crave milk let’s drink in the milk of the word and stir up the gift that is in us. He said he knocks on the door and seeks to fellowship with His Church in Revelation 3:20. Let us open it and fan the flame of our relationship with God by opening up our Bibles and reading them. After all, He did pay an unfathomable price to ransom our lives so that we could be His children. Let’s start listening to His word. It is life giving. Faith comes by hearing and hearing comes by the Word of God. So maybe it is time to put down the Xbox controllers or things that want to choke the word out of our lives and go listen to our Father. He loves us. I know as an older struggling brother in the faith. Randy