I often hear people talk about wanting to go deeper in classes and study groups. Every teaching clinic I have ever taught has that as a question that rises from the group. In our age of information it is often mistaken that more knowledge means going deeper. In reality, it is not more knowledge but more maturity that is required. Look at what the writer of Hebrews told the churches:
11 We have a great deal to say about this, and it’s difficult to explain, since you have become too lazy to understand. 12 Although by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the basic principles of God’s revelation again. You need milk, not solid food. 13 Now everyone who lives on milk is inexperienced with the message about righteousness, because he is an infant. 14 But solid food is for the mature—for those whose senses have been trained to distinguish between good and evil.
There comes a point in our walk with Christ that we must turn knowledge into action. Knowing more is not the goal. Righteousness is the goal. The ability to live a holy life is the goal while on this Earth. This ability comes from two things: Holy Spirit and personal choice. When you place faith in Jesus Christ, turning your life over to God, then the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in you. However, God has given each of us the ability to make choices. Thus, the Holy Spirit dwells in you and you must choose to obey. The very presence of the Spirit causes a shift in desires and wants. Coupled with personal choice, the individual makes massive strides toward maturity.
Carnivorous Christianity defines those who are making those choices toward the “meat” of Scripture and social realities. We all seem to understand that learning is indeed critical. However, application is something from which we shy away. We want to learn but do not want to live? The moment I learn that I am to love my enemy and pray for him rather than seek revenge I am held accountable. The Spirit that dwells within has noted my knowledge and is now expecting the personal choice to live out that which I have learned. The writer above uses the term “inexperienced”. In other words, these people had knowledge but have not put it into practice. They knew about righteousness but had not started living righteous.
My kids have recently started baseball/softball season. We practice batting, catching, and throwing. We also practice situational drills. During these drills we set up a situation. If the ball is hit to 3rd with a man on 1st where do you throw it? These type of drills are good to help the kids know what to do. However, until an actual game is happening it is just theory. It is in those game moments that we see what needs to be encouraged at that next practice. The energy, nerves, and fast pace can rattle anyone until they have the experience. We can sit in church every week and listen to great sermons. We can sit in groups and dive into wonderful studies. Until we take that knowledge and put it into practical experience than we have not met the goal. Our goal is to be “meat-eaters” of Christianity. No amount of classroom learning equates to actual practical experience. Theoretical Christianity does not meet needs, love people, or change the world. Practical experience allows for training that classrooms never could. This experience trains you in knowing good from evil and gives the strength to choose the good.
Put down the milk of theoretical Christianity and take a bite of the meat of practical Christianity.