Monday, January 31, 2011

Hebrews 5

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. 

Having come of age in the eighties, I saw quite a few things for which I had absolutely no reference point.  I had grown up in a Christian home and was also quite naive...parental influence and a natural tendency to succumb to death-by-embarrassment at any opportunity were major contributors to that quality.  As a result of the way God wired me and the fact that I had a good deal of church in my upbringing...we attended religiously...and quite a bit of Bible exposure, I clearly understood nice versus mean, kind versus unkind. Yet, I had a great deal of trouble recognizing or discerning between good and evil.  So much so, I didn't even know I did not know.  I had the word of righteousness; but I had not been trained in the righteousness.  I could win the Bible drills and Bible trivia games; but as for application, understanding what some of the words meant, how those admonitions applied to me and others, I had a disconnect.  Epic failure to apply content in current context.

So, when I was in college and friends and family began to go and do things which I hadn't not been specifically taught - I missed the sin in the lifestyles.  Some of the problem was I had not been taught how to think with the knowledge I had.  Some of the problem was I didn't understand how to look to God and His Word for His take on my life and the current events...or comprehend that I could and should do that.  The ol' "once saved, always saved, pray the little prayer, be good, be active in church" was the lifestyle I had practiced and almost perfected.  

I know that I, by my silence on certain subjects...therefore, my tacit acceptance...condoned activities of my companions that were sinful.  I wasn't silent because I didn't know what to say, I simply had no clue. NO CLUE.  Somehow, I never made the connection between the Word and the life...I never stopped to think.  It never occurred to me that what they did, liked doing and pursued like crazy was sin.    

That background has made it a bit of a chaotic dance in bringing up children (and I know I am no where near done with that gig); but on one hand, I try to keep them innocent and sheltered as I was.  On the other hand, the world invades and pops the bubbles I try to create for I work to attempt to help them see what God says about the situation.  The predicament is that I may miss a scenario and the world may fill them in.  I cannot catch it all.  So, push to protect then strive to set it to God's Word...and the older they are, the more diverse and perverse are the opportunities that come our way.

Now, I had to tell you that to tell you this.  How the Lord spoke to me (and I am so grateful that He does involve Himself in my life and that I know to listen and look for Him...only His grace) from these two verses of Hebrews is that the need for milk is valid and nurturing.  One cannot grow without it.  But as one grows, the needs begin to change.  Growth is important; but maturity is the point of growth.  No one wants to be a 6 foot tall, bottle-coddling, thumb-sucking, diaper-clad baby.  

My children are growing and maturing.  Spiritually, they are growing as well.  The question is am I going to keep them in diapers by dropping them off at church and giving them praise-music pacifiers; or will I facilitate their maturing by the Word of righteousness so their senses can be trained to discern good from evil?  God must frame and filter our lives, else we are deceived and deceiving. 

The church activities and opportunities are super, supplemental scenarios; but it is my responsibility (by "my", I refer to the marital 2-are-1 "my" and of course, include their fabulous father) to live that omni-directional, pursuit of holiness out before them and to show them how to walk in the way-everlasting that when something wicked their way comes, they discern accurately and promptly. (Please know that that is only by God's grace in a Spirit-led life...not by my power, abilities or gumption and certainly despite my incredible capacity to screw up).  

Thank You Father for taking the pressure off of me to nail everything the world throws at the children.  I praise You for Your wisdom to prepare them for the evils of this world through Your Word of righteousness and by seasoning their senses through study and striving.  Equip me supernaturally to know which matters to address beforehand and which to leave to time. Please help me not limit Your gifts and wisdom to the biologically-related people only.  I adore You for You never gave up on me, either.  What a privilege to have become Your daughter, despite what I brought to the table.  Your are God, I am graced.

(a quick ps story:  We stopped to help a lady who had caused an accident last week.  During our time of assistance and support, she used really bad language (actually it was just one word, ranted REPEATEDLY).  I then dropped my children off for classes.  While they were in class, I wondered if the two who witnessed her vituperation would try out the new word that morning.  I prayed that they would not.  I reasoned the older had probably come across it and would know better; just because he is older, (please, please, dear God).  The younger who loves words almost as much as I do proved to be a much greater topic in my prayers.  "Please shut that young one's mouth, Lord.  Keep him from trying out a new word.  Please hold them still until I can have an audience with them and show them Your perspective on that matter.  God, let them cause no offense.  They don't know.  I never told them.  You know at our house, the s-word is stupid, h-word is hate, d-word is dumb...You know Father, they just don't know anymore.  Holy Spirit, rise up in them and let them keep their mouth quiet if they feel inclined to stretch their vocab skills today."

I was there early for pick-up...can you imagine that?!!  Urgently, we fled the building like we were thieves leaving a bank.  Without any pleasantries, I began, "You know that the young lady was very upset today and she used really bad language I wanted you to know that what she said is unacceptable  for the Lord tells us to not use coarse language but to edify one another and to think on lovely and excellent things...."  

Before I could continue, the younger child corrected me, "Mom, she didn't use bad language; she used one bad word, repetitively." 

"Yes, you're right,"  I concurred - breathing now, "but I know we have never discussed that and I thought maybe you had never heard that word.  I want you to be clear that it is 'NO' for us as Christ's siblings."

"I know that.  And, for your information, I have heard it Youth Group."  

I am so breathlessly thankful that God is Sovereign and even though bad stuff and words happen...God is Lord over all. {major disclaimer:  I love our Youth Group and Pastor, I KNOW that bad language is not taught nor promoted there.  But just like in our Ladies Group, sinners come to church and sometimes, sinners speak from a sinful perspective...don't worry, they probably haven't had their "milk", yet.)

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