Monday, January 19, 2009

The Problem of Becoming Static and Regression

Hebrews 5:11-14

Concerning this we have much to say which is hard to explain since you have become dull in your (spiritual) hearing and sluggish [even slothful in achieving spiritual insight]. For even though by this time you ought to be teaching others you actually need someone to teach you over again the very first principles of God's Word. You have come to need milk, not solid food. For everyone who continues to feed on milk is obviously inexperienced and unskilled in the doctrine of righteousness (of conformity to the divine will in purpose, thought, and action), for he is a mere infant [not able to talk yet]! But solid food is for full-grown men, for those whose senses and mental faculties are trained by practice to discriminate and distinguish between what is morally good and noble and what is evil and contrary to ether divine or human law.

As a special education paraeducator, one of the major hurdles we deal with is regression. We may pour ourselves tirelessly into a student; offering him/her the best teaching practices available on a given subject, only to find that after a two week break for the holidays; the student has forgotten all or most of what was taught them. We call this regression. The reason for regression is really quite simple; the student has ceased to practice the skills that they have recently learned. For example; I may have worked with a student for a few weeks on the difference between long and short vowel sounds; practicing the difference between the words 'hat' and 'hate'. But the student goes on spring break. He gives no attention to reading, nor do his parents require this of him. He spends his whole break playing video games, staying up until midnight every night and rising at noon. The first week back to school he arrives in my classroom at 9 am. He's yawning and his hair is disheveled. He lays his head on the desk and is cranky when I tell him to sit up and pay attention. He has regressed physically from lack of sleep. He has regressed mentally from lack of educational stimulation. It can take a month or more to reteach what has been lost.
Look the text once more and ask yourself if this is a picture of your spiritual state. Have you become too lazy to feed yourself, requiring bottle feeding from the pastor? What are you eating every day, spiritually speaking. If it amounts to only a verse randomly pulled from a promise box or a once a week feeding on the pastor's message; face it; you are in regression.
According to verse 14, YOU are responsible to right the ship (having your senses and mental faculties trained by practice. )
Imagine how concerned, as a parent, you would be if your young child, having passed babyhood, refused to eat solid food. The child would lose weight, his strength would diminish and all sorts of terrible physical problems would begin cropping up. In the absence of vital minerals and vitamins found in 'grown up' foods, the child would begin to fail mentally as well. Lethargy would set in; with the child refusing to exercise and play; even communication would become limited.
Is this not the condition of many of God's children? How tragic. How unnecessary.
Our Father is not an unfit parent. He has set a table before us; and our cup runneth over. But He does not force us to eat.
This New Year, as many are making resolutions to eat better and exercise to gain physical strength; I challenge you and myself as well; to resolve to get into spiritual shape. To eat better and to exercise ourselves in the Word by practicing it daily. Let's start reading the Word like it means something to us; take it seriously. Let's move on from babyhood in 2009.

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