Friday, January 23, 2015

DISCERNMENT or DECEPTION (pt 3)

Hebrews 5:11-14—
11 Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing you are dull of hearing.
12 For when for the time you ought to be teachers, you have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
13 For every one that uses milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
14 But strong meat belongs to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

The whole tenor of this passage is “you ain’t where you should be in your life.” Do you think that this could be said of you, or me, or the church in general? I certainly do.

So, let’s look at what the writer is trying to communicate through this section.

He (the writer could just as easily be a woman) wanted to relate some aspects of the spiritual connection between Melchisedec and Jesus, but was hindered by knowing that such things were “over their head.”

For this, he chided his readers, and declared that these, who should be mature, are yet quite immature. Can you say, “40 years old and still in diapers?” Humiliating.

Becoming “dull of hearing” (v. 11) seems to be a dangerous place at which to arrive. It means you can’t understand. It means you prefer to hear only that which you already know and agree with, thereby stunting your growth.

He goes on to tell us how to avoid such a condition a little later on.

Dullness of hearing comes from a failure to practice what we know in at least two specific ways: doing and listening.

James tells us that if we don’t DO what we learn from the scriptures, then we are only deceiving ourselves (James 1:22). Part of the currently poor condition of the church comes from the fact that very few pulpits are giving out what needs to be DONE as a Christian in order to maintain a vibrant spiritual life. Therefore, there is nothing to do or practice after leaving the building Sunday mornings. (Before you jump on your high-horse on this statement, please try to understand what is being stated. However, you are still free to comment below in whatever manner you require.)

Jesus said that we are to pay attention to what we hear and the manner in which we hear it (Mark 4:24). Too often, I find that most conversations are fueled by “I can’t wait until you take your next breath so I can talk.” That is hardly listening.

James addresses this concept in his epistle in 1:19—
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.
This is NOT a “three-step program,” but a simple one-step that yields amazing benefits. Would you not agree that only having to remember one step is a whole sight easier than trying to recall three?

Just simply practice listening. The rest will take of itself.

However, without this practice of Jesus’ and James’ teaching, we will, unfortunately, become dull of hearing. It’s a “use-it-or-lose-it” type strategy.

So…
Until the next time, will you commit yourself to practicing listening?

If you are a ‘talker.’ Then this will prove no small task for you. Your jaw will begin to hurt if you are really working at it.

Let the rest of us know how you’re doing with this practice.

(I can see that it will take at least two more posts to get through this passage of Hebrews. Please bear with me.)

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