Aaron Summers

Posts Tagged ‘Holy Spirit’

Home Inspections and the Holy Spirit

In Chrisian Life on September 9, 2014 at 8:21 am

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Before the purchase of a new home, nearly everyone will tell you to get a home inspection.  The inspector will come by the house and do a thorough walk through and around citing everything that is a problem, issue, hazard, and need for the home.  One such inspection I viewed was 43 pages!  I do not think 1 square inch of the house was overlooked.  Without it, the new owner might be getting into a situation that becomes a money pit.  Or worse, the house could go up in smoke because of faulty wiring or some other issue.  Neither party involved wants to be made so completely aware, but it does need to happen.

People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.

In the case of buying and selling homes, full disclosure is important.  If the seller does not disclose, the inspector will probably find it anyway.  Further, the inspection will reveal deeper and more detailed items also.  Once the inspection is done it is up to the buyer and seller to negotiate  what is fixed and by whom.

Inspection

The Holy Spirit will comb through the areas of thought, heart, motivation, behavior, and more to uncover the needs in order for us to live a holy life.  Like an inspector, he does not force His way into your life.  He waits for an invitation.  The report He provides is exact.  Have you called for one lately?

Negotiation

Once the wrong has been revealed, there is a series of negotiations to determine the next steps.  There are some wrongs in your life that only God can fix.  As the Creator, he has the power to fix them.  He desires to see us living a whole life filled with joy!  There are some things though, that can be fixed through God’s assistance.  Finally, others that you just need to handle.  Paul had a thorn in the flesh and was told God’s grace was sufficient.  In other words, God does expect us to work at it too.

Repair

Confession and repentance bring healing to your mind, body, heart, and soul.  If we let our lives spiral down into disrepair we will face complications.  Anxiety, stress, and chaos will wreak havoc.

My suggestion is to call in the inspector as often as possible.  It may not be fun at first, but as you become aware of what to be doing on your own then it will have lasting effects that will create new joy in your heart.

What Coffee Teaches Me About Christianity

In Chrisian Life, Cleansing on August 21, 2014 at 8:03 am

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Coffee is a beautiful thing!

A few years ago, while on a church trip, I was given a coffee mug.  I have used it nearly every day since.  The wide bottom makes it so it doesn’t tip over very easy.  As you can see I have worn off much of the label!  This past Summer I got a new coffee cup and, in the excitement of something new, began using that one as of late.  Today I forgot the cup and I remembered that I still had this older, well-used one.

The problem was that it had not been used for a while and it had some coffee left in it.  I didn’t just want to add more coffee.  I needed to get rid of the old and put in the new.

  1. The cup couldn’t wash itself. As much as I would like, dishes still do not wash themselves.  We might have technology that speeds the process up and reduces the labor of the individual, but dishes do not wash themselves.
  1. There was no point in just wiping off the outside. I could have set it down in the sink with water but the problem was not the outside, it was the inside.  It needed to be clean from the inside out.  Simply washing off the outside would not have affected that which was floating in the cup!
  1. Fill it up! Now that the cup was clean I could have what I wanted – COFFEE!

Our lives are often like this cup.  By our own choosing we do not put ourselves in the Master’s hands every day.  As a result, we become stagnant and bad things begin to grow inside of us: hate, malice, envy, lust, pride, and more.  These will take what was good, but now unused, and degrade it to the point that it is sickening.  Like the cup, we cannot wash ourselves.  We must allow God to wash us from the inside out.  Though we may try to attend church more, be better people, and do the right thing.  Adding fresh coffee to that mug would have tainted the whole cup.  We must be emptied of all the nasty by God’s power through our faith and confession.  Then the Spirit will fill us up once again.

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!  2 Corinthians 5:17

Driving School Steps 1-5

In Chrisian Life on November 7, 2013 at 10:08 am

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Every year, the Royal Ambassadors (Boys 1st-6th Grade) in many churches engage in the pinewood derby.  The actual race is only a portion of the whole process of what I call “Driving School”.  It is my belief that if we are going to take a good chunk of class time there should be something of significance given to the boys.  Of course, the hands-on is important.  The ability to draw out the vision, sanding, and painting are good and useful things to know.  The following is something I have developed to give as  devotions to the boys after each part of the process.

1.  Block of Wood (Genesis 1-2) – This block of wood did not magically appear.  It came from a Pine tree that was created by the One True God.  His hands formed and shaped the tree that would produce this block of wood.  You did not magically appear.  You were created by God and incubated in your Mother for 9 months.  There is much promise in both items!

2.  Design (Jeremiah 1:5) – We start out in the Pinewood Derby by remembering what we are trying to accomplish.  Every boy needs to have a purpose for what they are doing.  Without a purpose in mind, boys will find a way to digress into chaos!  Some boys want to win the local, regional, or state races.  Some boys want a particular looking car without regard to winning.  Either way, each boy begins with a purpose in mind when designing the car.  You have a purpose.  God knew all about you before you were born.  He has a purpose, a reason, for which He designed you: Doctors, Engineers, Teachers, Leaders, Athletes, Missionaries, Preachers, and more.  Every boy has a unique design given by God.

3.  Cut (Acts 2:37-41) – In order for the car to become all the child desires, the block must be shaped.  Just because, the design was drawn out on paper does not mean that block of wood will perform as it is right now.  The wood must go through the saw to cut away those parts not needed for the purpose designed.  Our lives cannot fulfill the design of God with all the sin.  Just like the pieces of wood that are cut off and thrown away.  We must have our sin removed too.  When we admit that we cannot do that on our own and trust in what Jesus already did through His life, death, and resurrection, we are turning our life over to God who will cut away all that is unnecessary through our faith and repentance.

4.  Sand and Weight (1 Peter 1:13-16) – Once the major shape is cut out, you will notice the design taking form.  However, it is not ready for racing yet.  The boys are excited to see their cars and are ready to throw wheels on and send them down the track.  Too often, we believe the same in our own lives.  There is more work to do before racing!  There are rough edges and ripples in the wood that need to be sanded smooth.  When a race can be lost by .001 seconds, the aerodynamics and weight are important.  These are details hard for young ones to understand.  The men who help them remind them of the importance of weight distribution and smoothness.  Our lives need a sense of sanding and distribution also.  We have rough edges the Spirit wishes to smooth down.  We are out of balance at times and need to have someone mature help us distribute our time, abilities, and money properly.

5.  Prime (Ephesians 4:30) – The raw wood, if left this way, can take on the impurities of the air that surrounds it.  In addition, if someone spills a liquid too close the wood will suck it up and cause problems with the car.  Major remodeling would need to take place.  The primer is a required base layer to seal the wood and prepare it for painting.  Your life, once you have place faith in Jesus, has been primed and sealed by the Holy Spirit.  Once you have placed faith in Jesus you don’t have to keep going back.  If you don’t prime a car then the paint does not stick well.  Without the Holy Spirit, by faith in Jesus, the religion will not stick because there is no relationship with God.

Check back tomorrow for Steps 6-10.  Have a great day!!

 

Drill, Baby, Drill!

In Chrisian Life, Faith, Suffering on November 4, 2013 at 11:19 am

Drilling The Sunset

All over my area you can see oil rigs in the process of set up or tear down.  In both cases, the promise of oil is definite.  It seems the oil boom is on again and times will be good for everyone! In the pasture behind our house a few months ago came three large vehicles all in a row.  We had felt rumbling in the house all morning but were not aware of what it was.  Then we saw the trucks pull up and stop, then the rumble came.  They moved 100 feet and stopped and the rumble came again.  These were the seismologists taking readings.  Someone thought there was something valuable underground and decided to do a little research.  If conditions seems right the drillers will come and set up a new rig to drill down for the oil.  Once the drilling is done, a pumper is put into place to continue to retrieve the oil and pump it to a storage facility.

I was recently reminded that the pains we face in life can be handled in a similar way.  Not every pain is bad.  Not every poor circumstance is awful.  There are times that God allows pain in order to deepen faith.  Sometimes God puts us in awkward, or painful, positions to test our resiliency.  Often, we cannot see this during the trial.  But, to increase our joy and deepen our faith it is a good practice to do the research and drill down for the “black gold”.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,
for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.
And let steadfastness have its full effect,
that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

James 1:2-4

Research – All companies begin with research.  The pain you are in is probably not isolated to you.  Others have faced these circumstances.  Others have experienced this pain.  What have they done?  How have they fared?  Did their faith deepen?  Did God speak to them?  What happened?  When looking for examples of others, be certain to speak further with those whom you find to be what you desire to become.  If you want to be bitter, that will be easy.  If you want to be better, do the research.  Find those who are better as a result of the pain or poor experience.  No one should blindly start drilling without having done the research.

Drill – Once a suitable site has been found a drilling company will be hired to drill a hole  through the earth until it finds oil.  Not all drilling sites will find oil.  However, those who have done the right research are more likely to find oil at the bottom of their pipe!  James says that we are to let endurance have its full effect.  In other words, do not stop in the middle.  What company begins to drill and stops in the middle?  Other than those who go bankrupt, none.  What if you drill and find nothing?  Look around the area.  Most companies, if they find a dry hole, will drill close in the area again because the cost of research has already been spent.  Was the pain for you or for someone else?  It is possible that God allowed the pain to help someone else.  Are you willing to be used by God?

Pump – Now that you have found God’s hand in the process, let the joy pump into your soul.  Letting endurance come to its fullness is like pumping the reservoir as long as possible.  The pain you once felt because of ignorance can now be replaced with peace and joy.  The circumstances you are in now can be seen in a different light and with a different perspective.  It is no longer about you, but about how God is working in and through you.  Let the Holy Spirit do the work to deepen your faith.  Let the Holy Spirit work in you for the benefit of someone else.

Deposit – The royalty checks begin to come in at this point for the company and for those who have mineral rights on the land.  You can cash your spiritual checks of joy, love, peace, and patience also.  God will begin depositing these and other items into your life.  Whether it is coming to terms with the movement of God in the past or being inspired about a current issue, God will bless you with His presence, power, and peace!

Drill, Baby, Drill!

Consumerism and the Church

In Church, Leadership on October 21, 2013 at 10:40 am

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In 1981, my Dad took his first church in a small, real small, community in Kentucky.  We moved from our moderate middle-class home to a small church owned house that backed up to a creek fed by the Kentucky River.  I was in sixth grade and rather upset by the entire situation.  Over the next six years I attended 5 different schools.  Each move was precipitated by a disagreement between the church and Dad.  The people decided they no longer wanted him to be their leader and let him know it publicly.

Why does this happen?  Did the search team not believe God called him to the church?  Did Dad not fully believe God called him to the church?  If both believed God called them to each other, how could one side decide this on their own?

Wal-Mart began in the 1960’s with one store in Rogers, Arkansas.  By the 1980’s it had grown to national status.  With the rise of the “super center” that housed everything you could ever want under one roof, Generation X and, subsequently, Y grew up going to Wal-Mart.  I do not fault this company for growing in the way they did.  However, many small town businesses would argue that point.  The age of consumerism rose to new heights!  The baby boom and prosperity of the 50’s had nothing on this new group.  They had money to burn and the marketing developed to a younger crowd as children began to wield their consumer power within the home.

During this time, churches began to suffer from the culture making its way into the church.  The idea that one can go and receive everything under one roof for a cheaper price than competitors marked a significant change in why someone attended church.  Instead of going to serve God and others, the shift became attending to be served.  A new generation wanted to be served with everything and pay less, or nothing, for such benefits.  This trend would cause havoc for years to come.

Jesus told the people a parable on his way to Jerusalem.  The Parable of the Ten Minas recounts a nobleman who left for a time and promised his return.  He hands out equal money to 10 individuals and instructs them to do business with the money provided.  The interesting part of this parable is what happens next.  The citizens held a meeting and decided they did not want the nobleman to reign over them any longer.  What happens next is what I believe happens in a lot of churches today.

1.  Some ignore the report and go about their business.  In this parable, one of the 10 kept right on working.  It was as if he didn’t entertain this consumer notion of being able to change leadership on a whim.  He invested.  His money grew.  He was rewarded by the nobleman when he returned.  This man represents those who refuse to give in to the consumers who want something different every other minute.  For those who are resolute in their support and investment in the Kingdom of God and His people in leadership will be rewarded by God in the end.

2.  Some become confused. One of the guys only returned a little on the investment.  The same economy and same geography returned less on the investment.  We could dive into his work ethic or personality.  However, Jesus provides us with the reason.  The citizens for change tainted his attitude and ability.  The consumer mentality in churches can adversely affect the effectiveness of those in the church.  Dissension breeds difficulty.  For those who want to follow God’s will and also maintain friendships and fellowship find themselves in awkward positions.  Their joy lessens.  Their work reduces.  Their spiritual life is choked.  They are confused and it will show itself in the body of Christ.

3.  Some become disenchanted.  Maybe the single worst issue behind the consumerism and the disposable concepts brought into play is that it often renders people useless.  The text suggests that 80% of those given a task did nothing with it.  They walked around in fear.  They articulated this in their response to the nobleman.  Actually, blaming him was a symptom of the division rendered by the citizens.  When those who want bigger, better, brighter begin to prattle on it infects everyone and everything around them.  Good people quit.  Active people draw back.  In the end, the church and the community suffer.

The dissenters received their reward just as those who returned in the investment.  God notices it all and will reward accordingly and appropriately when He returns.  May we look to the Holy Spirit for guidance and the gumption to stick with His plan more than our pleasure.  God has given you a Mina.  What will you do?

Living the Dream (Turbo Movie Review)

In Life and Culture on October 17, 2013 at 8:31 am

Turbo-movie-logoMy family loves to see movies together.  My wife and I began this tradition years ago in our Seminary days.  We both had Tuesday’s off and would go see the $.50 movies all day together!  We rarely see a movie in the first run these days as prices have skyrocketed and we became spoiled with paying low prices.  Recent years find us in the dollar movie theaters in our area.  Such was the case with this movie.  You can find Plugged In’s Review for a storyline.  I want to share my thoughts on this movie with you because I thoroughly enjoyed this movie.  Here are a few talking points you can have as a result of this movie.

Dream Big.  Theo (Turbo) is a garden snail who wants to be faster.  He wants more than what he has.  Chet, his brother, constantly tries to pull him back to reality by reminding him that he is just a garden snail.  Our kids today need to dream big.  We are too quick to put them in a box and seal the lid on their future.  We need to help them see their full potential.  We serve a big God who has big dreams for us.  Why not dream with Him?  Tito also had bigger dreams for the taco wagon.  He saw things differently and wanted to make it big.  His brother also had fallen into the trap of low expectations.  We need to be driving the next generation to be bigger and better because they have the ability within them if we free them to be who they are and not who we want them to be.

Get outside help.  Both Turbo and Tito needed outside help to achieve the dreams they had.  Turbo, at a low point in his life, was thrust into a position where he was going to be miraculously transformed by being dipped in Nitrous Oxide.  Tito, in a similar position, receives help from Turbo and together they realize their dreams!  This is a great topic to express the Gospel message.  Share with your friends about How the God of the universe has huge plans for them today.  Explain how they can have a transformed life by the power and activity of Jesus Christ and the presence of the Holy Spirit inside them spiritually.  While Turbo’s power finally ended, God’s never will.

Live the Dream.  When Turbo and Tito came together they were able to achieve greater things and their dreams.  When Christians partner with God and each other (Church), they complement their gifts and abilities so that together they can achieve far more than they could have alone.  The New Testament is filled with this idea!  We were designed for a relationship with God and with other believers.  We were designed to work together to realize the dream of reaching this world for Christ.  A task, like a snail racing in the Indy 500, that seems impossible and ridiculous at times.  However,  the dream can be realized!

Bask in the glory.  With each portion of the storyline, the characters faced opposition and triumph.  They always were sad together and rejoiced together.  In the end they basked in the joy and glory of triumph.  One day, we too, will bask in the glory of triumph.  Though we face opposition and heartache today, we have moments of triumph even now.  One day, like Turbo and Tito winning the race and causing a brighter future for themselves, we will have the brightest future.

Each of us have God-given talents, abilities, and ambition.  We want more.  We work for more.  However, it is only through faith in Jesus Chris that we have a hope of achievement.  Allow God to transform your life and watch miracles happen right before your eyes.

Seeing Eye to Eye

In Leadership, Life and Culture on October 1, 2013 at 6:41 am

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I recently went to a new optometrist.  My prescription was out and I as dangerously close to no more contacts!  We do the dance of medical history and other forms before I am ushered for the “pre-exam” exam.  After I recite the letters that are on the wall, I wait for the doctor.  She comes in and we begin the exam involving the 1 or 2, 1 or 2, 1 or 2, 1 or 2.  When we are done she explains that my eyes have a different prescription, which I already knew.  For the sake of economy, however, she told me that my eyes were close enough I could use the same prescription on both eyes.

Though there were differences, unity was possible.  The same is true in our families, jobs, and churches.  There might be many differences, when we focus on the similarities we find unity.  This unity is what bonds us together in the good times and holds us together through the bad.

Unity was not forcing my eyes to be the same.  Unity was established through an outside source placed over my eyes.  In our organizations we often think unity means that everyone must be conformed to some internal standard.  This actually creates frustration.  We are different.  God created differences for a reason.  Unity is established when we focus on Jesus and allow the Holy Spirit to overlay our groups like the contacts.  I use the same strength in both and, though different, I see just fine.

My eyes see 20/20.  Even though the strength in one eye is a little less than the machine said I needed, God created our eyes to be dynamic.  So, they adjust themselves to the contact and I see just fine.  Your organization will have greater vision, dynamic vision, if we will allow the Spirit to do His work.  God created us to be dynamic.  We can adjust.  In fact, we will adjust naturally.  Our vision will become clear as individuals and as a group because we will be conforming to the external device of God.

I am glad the doctor had done the research and understood this opportunity.  I am able to buy contacts in bulk because it does not matter which eye it is.  I am saving money, seeing better, and staying happy.  When we do the same with God’s Spirit that will be true for you and your organization as well.

Live Forgiven

In Chrisian Life, Faith, Journey on September 4, 2013 at 9:24 am

goldfish jumping out of the water

 

“I just want to be free!”

I heard this every Thursday for 3 years. In one form or another, the clients I counseled wanted their addiction to be kicked out and recovery kicked up a notch. As they approached the time to re-enter society, I would ask them about their plans. I could almost always guess the ones who would succeed and those who would not. It is so easy to get side-tracked. Whether you are in outpatient care or inpatient care life offers us a plethora of distractions. For many, the reason behind their addiction was not what they proposed. The reason for any addiction is following a path that seems right to you.

 There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.  Proverbs 16:25

It is critical that an understanding of terms be reached before continuing. Having a bad habit is just a nice way to say you have an addiction. Your habit may not be illegal, but it can threaten your family, your finances, and ultimately your future. We, especially in the Christian community, like to minimize our sin and maximize others sin. We have bad habit. They have addictions. Let’s be clear, anything that is distracts you from your relationship with God is a sin.

“How do I break free?” This question has arisen many times and you may be asking it as well. Satan grips our mind with fear and our hearts with guilt and shame. In order to break free of your habit/addiction/sin, we must embrace the forgiveness of God as a reality, not rationale. Living forgiven is not a series of convincing statements that we chant every day. Living forgiven is about having faith in the sinlessness of Christ and the statement of the cross and empty tomb. Please do not misunderstand, becoming a follower of Christ does not automatically release the grip of Satan. What this decision of salvation does is provide the power and opportunity for those chains to be broken and for you to walk out of your prison. God provides the power. God provides the pathway. God provides. Yet, you have to get up and walk.

Jesus asked the man at the pool if he wanted to get well. The man began giving excuses of why he could not. Jesus looked at him and said to get up and walk. In that moment, he was completely healed. His legs had strength. His arms had strength. However, until he chose to get up and walk he would lie on that mat. In Christ, you have been healed of your issues. But to walk free is your choice to make. The sad reality is people refuse to believe in the power of Christ and remain in the grips of Satan through fear, shame, and guilt. God has wiped all of that away. When will you walk?

As you prepare to get up and walk here are a few things to help steady your feet.

 1. Avoid your triggers. What is it that makes you consider engaging your habit? Is it certain places? Is it certain smells? Is it certain people? Is it certain situations? In order to walk in forgiveness, these must be avoided. For those who believe they can handle it, you can’t. Avoid the triggers. Change your job. Change your routine. Change your sleep schedule. Change begins with you engaging the power of God provided through Jesus Christ.

2. Make new friends. I have heard it said that you are the average of your 5 closest friends. With that being said, develop new friendships that drive you closer to Christ. Releasing an old set of friends affords you the opportunity for personal growth and more probable success in this endeavor.

3. Realize your limitations. Believing you can handle your habits/sins/addictions is the first step to failure. If you could have handled it on your own you wouldn’t be in this mess now. Coming before God and agreeing on your dependency to Him is vital. Our strength is limited but God’s is limitless. We fail but God never does. We sin but God never has. Why not embrace God? Pride arrives and then a fall.

Living forgiven is not about being flippant about your past. It is about embracing the offer of God in Christ and engaging the power of the Holy Spirit. The probability of sin remains high as long as we are in this life but it does not have to be the habit you had yesterday. Live free. Live forgiven.

Getting Paid

In Chrisian Life, Decisions on July 3, 2013 at 1:51 pm

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Do you remember your first job?  My first job was at Wendy’s.  My favorite part was every two weeks when I would get paid.  The first check seemed to take the longest because I had to work two weeks before getting the check.  That felt like the longest two weeks.  At 17, I hadn’t completely learned the process of work then get paid.  Oh, how I have learned it since!  Every day I would clock in and work my shift and then go home.  I did that for 10 days and couldn’t wait for payday.  When I opened the envelope I was, as many have been, surprised at how much was taken out before it got to me.  I didn’t really care because I had money.  For the first time, I had money I had earned without the help of my parents.  It was a glorious feeling of freedom and maturity.  I took my girlfriend out to dinner and movie that next day to celebrate!!

Getting paid is a common occurrence though we may not consider it often.  We receive wages for everything we do.

  • Money is the most common way of getting paid.  We work and we receive money for our efforts.  This one is obvious.
  • Pain is not a pleasant consideration.  However, the wages for our actions come in many forms.  Depending on what your actions include, pain is quite possibly what you will get paid.  The poor relationship and the choices involved leave emotional scarring that can take years to remove.
  • Guilt and shame are also two forms of payment.  The sin that so easily entangles us will pay you in this way. God created us to live for Him.  When we sin, and we all do, we fall short of God’s glorious purpose for our lives.  Guilt and shame leave their mark on our hearts and minds.  While this is a form of pain, it is vastly different.  These wages lead to alcoholism, abuse, cutting, and more.  We fight to feel alive because the wages of sin are death.
  • Peace and joy come to those who follow after God and invite the Holy Spirit’s influence in and over their lives.  This is a gift of God given toward you as payment for faith.  Once you were at war with God, but now peace has come.  These are the best checks!
  • Cleanness is one way of speaking about sanctification.  Our scripture teaches that this is the wage you earn when living by God’s standards.

We all receive wages for every action.  You have the choice to make as to which ones you desire to earn.  God does not force you either way but leaves the choice up to you.  I have earned from both sides.  I assure you that God’s wages are much more beneficial and long-lasting!

20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free from allegiance to righteousness. 21 So what fruit was produced then from the things you are now ashamed of? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now, since you have been liberated from sin and have become enslaved to God, you have your fruit, which results in sanctification —and the end is eternal life! 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.       – Romans 6:20-23

Carnivorous Christianity

In Commitment, Decisions on March 20, 2013 at 9:34 am

steakI 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.

 

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