Now, before you stop reading, this is not a rant about growing up. We get a lot of that (and it is needed!), but there is another principle implied in this, and similar, verses that I want to stress in today’s post.
First, to give us a little foundation, let’s think for a moment about maturing as a Christian. If you have been a Christian for some length of time, you should know more about the Bible and God than you did at first. You should be known for your good works, and you should have a heart that seeks to do even more. Your relationship with God should be better than it was earlier in life. You also should stop squabbling over minor matters. Children do that; those who are adults don’t.
Usually, when we study Hebrews 6:1, that’s where we stop. We list those areas wherein we should see maturity, and that’s it. However, there is another principle found in this verse that can be overlooked that is just as important.
What is it? It is that not every Christian is as mature as those who have been Christians for some time. It is that some struggle to mature, and they need your encouragement, teaching, and prayers.
When you first became a Christian, you probably struggled with certain difficulties and temptations. You made a great effort to put your former life behind you, but it wasn’t easy. That’s normal, and it is a sign that you are striving to mature. However, once you have become stronger in faith, it can be easy to forget those days of struggling.
Now, time for brief rant. Ready? Here we go…
There are too many congregations that have this attitude! We know what we know, and we deal with “our” problems, but, if someone struggles spiritually, it’s just obvious that he/she isn’t as strong as we are. If that person would just reach “our” level of religion, he or she would be fine, but I don’t know how I can help.
We need fewer churches with the mindset that says, “As long as the person comes in our building, they’ll get over their problems. Our preaching and teaching will just mold him and he will be fine. We’re preaching the truth, so she will eventually get it.” We need more churches that say, “Yes, we are preaching the truth–and doing so powerfully–but we also aren’t afraid to admit we all struggle, and we’ll take you under our wing to encourage you, pray for you, and teach you.”
End of rant. Now for some practical suggestions.
Elders, please lead by example in this area! Don’t have the attitude that “We’ve got the truth, and folks will gain it by walking in the building.” Re-read the accounts of the life of Jesus and notice how much time He spent in personal time with those who struggled to mature, but who were trying.
Preachers, preach with this in mind! Don’t just intellectually share deep thoughts for the saved. Share how those who struggle to understand and follow the commands of the Bible can use what you are saying. Remember that you don’t know everything, either!
Teachers, lead your classes with this in mind! Ask questions. Welcome “simple” questions and don’t treat them as less important than a deeper question. You may be answering the questions of someone who will be standing where you are someday, if you handle it right.
Members, keep this in mind! Step out of your comfort zone and talk to that struggling or new Christian. Remember that part of the Great Comission was for after the person is baptized. Go, teach, make disciples, and teach some more! Don’t treat a struggling Christian like a disease to be avoided. Remember that you have struggled, too, and you needed a shoulder to cry on, a mind to pick, and hands to hold. Be those to someone today.
Grow up, but don’t forget what it’s like to struggle. After all, we all have days when we continue to struggle.