How tolerant should we be toward Babes, and how do we know the difference?
12For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye 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 useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
Yesterday, I turned 47 years old. As I look back on my life, I note with amusement that it has taken me 47 years to get to the place I am today in my relationship with Jesus. For 47 years I have stumbled around, tripped, fallen down, rolled in the mud, and made countless mistakes--some of them destructive to the church, and many destructive to myself.
I never gave up, though.
Surely, God is the God of Grace and Mercy -- or is He?
I am not so arrogant to believe that I am at the end of my journey. My granddaddy once said, "If you ain't learning, you ain't living." I still have faults I need to work on. I still stumble and fall at times. I still need Jesus to pick me back up, set me on my feet and point me in the right direction.
I only pray that in the process of my journey, I don't influence someone down the wrong path.
I am, however, privileged to have traveled long enough, far enough, in my walk with Christ, that He has blessed me with others on my way who are just starting their journeys. They don't know which rocks to go around, and which ones to go over -- much less which ones to avoid altogether. This is when my experiences on the road of life are influential in the success of others who are getting a rocky start. While I know that, in the end, I will not be the cause of their success, I rest comfortably, at this point, in knowing that I have pointed them in the direction of the One Who Is.
Having said all this, I would like to draw on my experience, coupled with the Word, to try to answer the questions posted at the beginning of this page.
How tolerant should we, as Christians, be toward babes in Christ?
Let's pretend that you are a middle-aged man. You were not raised in church. You did not have a believing family. You did not live a godly life up to now. You really didn't know what that meant. Yet, somehow, you were drawn in by that church around the corner from your home. After visiting a few times, you decided that THAT is something you really want. You fell in love with the friendly faces when you walked in the door. Their close-knit sense of community lured you into their fold. They hugged you, they listened to your problems, they told you about Jesus, and, ultimately they brought you face to face with a Creator that you never gave a second thought to -- until then. You caught the hunger. You wanted to know more.
But, those people in church, they don't know you. They don't know what is in your past. They don't know where you came from -- that you have been to prison, are poor, are still struggling with addiction of some kind, your children won't even talk to you because you weren't there for them when they needed you. All you know is that the preacher preached last Sunday about how Jesus is your friend, no matter what.
12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.
16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and [that] your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
Jesus called you "friend", and you are on cloud nine.
You continue to go to church, because you want to know more. You want that feeling you get when you walk through those doors. You want to keep that sense of purpose you feel when it's over. Eventually, you find yourself walking down the aisle to "get saved"...not really understanding what that entails.
And, even then, you haven't learned how to carry it outside the doors of the church yet.
You are just a babe in Christ, who needs the milk of the Word to help you grow.
Click HERE to read Chapter 2