Thoughts on life, leadership and the movement called the church by Brian C. Hughes, Senior Pastor

by Brian C. Hughes, Senior Pastor

Friday, July 22, 2011

Hebrews 6: College Level Spirituality

My daughter is in her 3rd year of a 5 & 1/2 year degree program where you graduate with a bachelors and masters at the same time. Until now, she's taken mostly basic, entry-level courses. But this week, we helped her make some decisions as she registered for degree-specific classes. She is our oldest child, so the last time I made this transition from 100-level classes to 300-level classes was...well...a long time ago.

The lecture was simple: Mary Ashleigh, the classes you've been taking were basic. There was a good bit of review tacked in. They were foundational, but also elementary. They were easy. Now you are an upperclassman. Your courses will be more challenging, require more time, take more effort. But there is a reward for this: they lead to specialization and expertise. And because you are interested in the subject matter, they will largely be highly interesting to you. Still, you can't just show up for these. They require some work.

As Chapter 5 ends and Chapter 6 opens, The Writer tells his audience that they've been stuck in the basics and he encourages them to take some upper-level courses! (If you haven't read chapter 6, go read it). The first verse of 6 is a run-on sentence. I had to read it several times to get what he was saying, but I understand now. He's saying, 'look, by now in your journey as a Christ follower, you ought to no longer need teachings on the basic stuff. You already know how to read and right, now you need some calculus, chemistry, statistics, engineering or some other more challenging teachings.

The foundational stuff is critical. The Writer is not discounting the importance of the resurrection, baptism or faith. He's saying, "When are you going to grow up and grow past the foundation???'

Do you want the practical application of this? For some folks, the answer is 'No'. No, you don't. Because moving past the elementary stuff requires a higher level of commitment, more time, more study, more discipline, more energy. Many people just don't want to put more of there life into it.

Practically speaking, moving on to maturity means taking responsibility for your own growth. It means that you stop whining that 'the church is not giving me enough meat' and you start cooking your own meat! You become a 'self-feeder' as you read your Bible every day, digest the words and let them nourish you. Get to a passage you don't understand? You go get some resources to help you and you dig in and dig down.

The Writer is talking about discipleship - real, meaty Jesus-following stuff - and he's saying "if you committed your life to Christ but didn't grow up from there, it's not only the Church's fault...it's also yours."

I know many people who are stuck. The only time they read any of the Bible is when they come to church, but then they'll blame the church for not going deep enough.** Are you kidding??? The Writer would say, "Grow Up!" Go to the bookstore or to Amazon and buy a study guide, take a 300 or 400 level course. Commit to it every day, 5 days a week, for 45 minutes or an hour. Get into a small group that goes deeper into the Bible than you've been before and learn with them. Treat your journey like you would a training course for work or a college class. Be dedicated. Grow up!

At the end, it's not all about the commitment, but also the reward. Because moving on to more challenging scriptures and spiritual topics means you know God better, draw closer to him, develop skills that really can help other people and, because you are interested in the subject, you actually enjoy the journey most of the time!

Hebrews 6 helps us see that our greater maturity will lead to changed behaviors and ends with a reassurance that God is faithful to his promises. I hope you read it. It's very good.

**this is not just a phenomenon at PCC, but happens in many churches.


1 comment:

Susan Hughes said...

Great insight on Hebrews! I use You Version also to help keep me on track with Bible reading. Www.youvereion.com