Moral and Spiritual Discernment
The greatest crisis in the church today is the lack of
moral and spiritual discernment. The power of moral discrimination is the mark
of spiritual maturity in contrast to childhood. Poor judgment is exercised and
lives are destroyed and testimonies ruined.
Every study reveals the same disparity between everyday
life and Christian teaching. There is little difference between the professing
Christian and the world. Talk to any spiritually mature pastor, and you hear
the same lament. One pastor said recently, “One morning I am going to stand up
and shout, “Grow up!”
Hebrews 5:11-14 deals with the same problem. "Concerning
him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull
of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need
again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God,
and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 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."
Just like the modern church, they had remained immature too
long. The pastor is saying, “Let’s pass onto them what is mature.” But that is
just the problem. Our “salad bar, make me feel good” mentality refuses to go on
to mature discernment between good and evil and better and best.
The author of Hebrews admonishes us to leave “the
elementary teachings about the Christ, let us press on to maturity.” He is not
suggesting that we despise or abandon these basic doctrines we learned as babies
in the Christian faith. If we digested the spiritual milk, we do not have to go
back and have someone teach us again the basics. The problem both then and now
is they did not digest the spiritual food for infants. One pastor suggested,
“Manna not used breeds worms! Milk undigested ferments.”
There is a direct correlation between spiritual maturity
and moral discernment.
We must never desert the fundamental basic truth upon which
everything else in the Christian life exists. The sacrifice of Jesus Christ was
once and for all never to be repeated. All of the sins of the elect of God are
under the blood of that sacrifice. We have been cleansed of our sins by that
blood. The spotless Lamb of God cleansed and removed our sins, and we have been
reconciled to God. That fact never changes. Don’t forget the fundamentals;
build on them. The goal of the Christian is to go on to full maturity of
spiritual growth. Hebrews 6:1 says, “Therefore leaving the elementary teaching
about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of
repentance from dead works and of faith toward God.”
How tragic the situation! “For though by this time you
ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the
elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and
not solid food” (Hebrews 5:12).
Note carefully what the author goes on to say. "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" (Hebrews
There are those who cry, “Feed me, preacher!” The sad truth
is that many want to be entertained and not fed the riches of God’s Word.
Spiritual things must be spiritually discerned. Only the spiritual mind and a
heart that thirsts for God can receive spiritual truth.
Every Christian who is going on to spiritual maturity will
be constrained to teach others what he or she is learning. “Go and make
disciples of all nations.”
The immature Christian never gets beyond the use of
spiritual milk meant for babies because there is no hunger and thirsting for the
righteousness of God.
Do you have a real longing for deliverance from the power
of sin in your personal life? Are you being obedient to the truth you have
already learned as a baby? Has God placed in your heart a hungering and
thirsting for a deeper knowledge and experience of Him? There will be spiritual
growth only as we are obedient to what He has already taught us in His word.
Why is there so little earnest pursuit after discerning the difference between
good and evil, the better and the best in Christian living?
Oh, Spirit of God help me to grow up!
Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006
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