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Mix your knowledge with your love. Search the scriptures to know of God and to examine yourself. Be humbled by the Word and apply it to your lives.
The author of Hebrews is resolute when speaking to Christians who may have been considering a departure from their faith, due in part to their immaturity. The force of the direct point could not reasonably be mistaken.
“There is much more we would like to say about this, but it is difficult to explain, especially since you are spiritually dull and don’t seem to listen. You have been believers for so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong. Hebrews 5: 11-14
Earlier in Hebrews (4:14), the listeners are asked to hold firmly to their faith. And it does follow that if you are to hold firmly to your faith, you should know what constitutes your faith. God seemed to have breathed into the Word here and elsewhere that, as followers of Christ, we need to have both the knowledge of the scripture and signs of life from the scripture. The two essentials are essential to one another.
That is, knowledge of the Word is fundamental but that knowledge without intent of application to one’s life is futile. The Bible isn’t intended to be read mechanically. When it is read without purpose, it becomes on equal plane with any secular subject. And even so, when studying a secular subject, let’s say… photography, you would be diminishing your experience if you didn’t mix your knowledge with function. It’s one thing to read about the technicalities and artistry of taking photographs. With certainty, you could dialogue about your understanding of the process but without a camera in hand and the actual act of making pictures, there will be limitations to your growth. Likewise, if you buy a camera but learn nothing about exposure settings and editing, your proficiency can remain dull.
Combine compassion and truth. Study the time Jesus engaged with the Samaritan woman at the well. There you will find an exemplary example of the blending of compassion and truth. At that time, also, Jesus made a profound offer. If we drink His water, we shall never thirst and we shall be sprung into everlasting life. How can we read something that compelling in a perfunctory way? Or, for that matter, how could we express our zeal for this life from God, life anew, without studying from where it was written?
Being a follower of Christ is not a mindless walk down Lollipop Lane. We must make time to examine ourselves and grow in the wisdom we have achieved through the study of the Word and apply, apply, apply.
In Romans 2:17 – 29, Paul speaks about the hypocrisy of having knowledge of the law and scripture but not living accordingly. He emphasizes that a change of heart produced by God’s spirit is above adherence to ceremony. It’s important to know scripture but unless it has taken root in your lives, it is a book on the coffee table.
Christmas is when God chose to make Himself known to us through a human being. That is what I hope you can reflect and meditate upon this year and during every subsequent year around this time; that Jesus is the supreme revelation.
There really never were smiling cows at the scene. You’ve seen a wide range of depictions. We know, though, that the circumstances were direr. Joseph, the father of Jesus, did not have the money or the clout to get his wife, Mary, a decent room at the Inn. Jesus was born in a feed trough where dirt and the smell of urine permeated.
How are you impacted by this? What does this do to your mind? What does this do to your heart? God, the God to which scripture tells us cannot be directly looked upon for the intensity of His glory would kill us. So, His Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
He did not come to us born into a grand palace; there was no majesty to His life here. God stripped His brilliance. That is Christmas. During His ministry, He was broken, rejected and betrayed. The circumstances around the birth of Christ point us toward humbleness.
We live in a post Genesis 3 world and that means our lives are filled with struggles. When you feel as if the ice under your feet is cracking, turn toward this historical account; the detailed retelling of the birth of Jesus and study His life and his teaching. Your head could explode from the gift of all of this. He came so you could have permanent citizenship, interwoven in the glory you can not now withstand, eternally.
Of course, we celebrate Christmas in ways that are far off from the message of meekness from which it began. We are in this world so please don’t complain and moan about how off track we have gotten. Take the opportunity of the time to really love people. And take time for you, to express gratitude to God for becoming the Word on our behalf.
In the midst of the activity of Christmastime, keep your eyes on things above. Honor the pace of God in the lives of others and in your own life and join others in their merriment with your grounded heart; one filled with humility and love.
I pray for you both to churn your spiritual knowledge into wisdom and to remain grateful for the incarnation of God on earth. Merry Christmas to my beautiful daughters.