We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. Hebrews 5, verses 11-14.
Yesterday we discussed how we, as people, are slow to learn. Today, let’s put that in context of the Hebrews author’s warnings against falling away. And about Jedi Knights.
In 1 Corinthians 3:2, the Apostle Paul uses an analogy similar to that above, talking about how he ‘fed’ the ‘children’ under his tutelage milk and not solid food. He did this because they were not ready for solid food as their faith and understanding of it had not yet matured. That analogy is quite similar to today’s verses. You can see why, for many years, people thought Hebrews had also been written by Paul, though contemporary opinions today now differ. If nothing else, we can surmise that the author of Hebrews was familiar with Paul’s letter to the Corinthians or, at least, familiar with what could have been a popular saying. What does all this have to do with falling away from the faith?
Think about it: resisting temptation is a difficult thing. It is a characteristic of maturity, of being able to discern the consequences of choosing right over wrong. A child, one still developing and able to only digest simple ideas, doesn’t fully know how to do this because they haven’t yet fully acquired those skills. Time, training, experience, and a ‘diet’ designed to foster those things are the only ways to acquire the wisdom that comes with age. If man does not live by bread alone, then the ‘bread’ food on which we are fed by God corresponds to our level of maturity. Thinking that way, then it’s easy to understand how those new to the faith are fed on milk while solid food comes with time. Thinking further, things like resisting the temptation to sin, fully repenting of our sins, and fully submitting to God’s active will in our lives can more easily be seen as matters into which we grow mature.
So much for the judgy analysis. Let’s tone it down a little. Just this morning, I was watching a Star Wars movie; Revenge of the Sith, one of the pre-quel movies that sci-fi purists constantly pan. If you think about it, all seven of the Star Wars movies are morality plays. The interwoven storylines about Jedi, Sith, galactic warfare tactics, and the rise, fall, and rise of empires revolve around some pretty basic ideas. Choose good over evil and good prevails. Choose evil over good and the opposite occurs. In the movies, the Jedi are trained over many years to embrace the patient ways of good, to learn how to channel the Force for use in serving the greater good. They start on milk and graduate to steak and potatoes.
Me thinks that Anakin Skywalker, for all his Darth Vaderness, never progressed beyond spiritual milk. Neither has George Lucas, for what it matters.
Over time, when we’re immature, we become impatient. Impatience can be a natural reaction to negative stress, yet when we focus on it beyond a moment, it can become a choice, a way of reacting. Impatient people are generally immature in some way. They become intolerant of the pace of things and determine to change that pace. Not unlike the believers of Hebrews times, we who are impatient today reject the deliberate life of righteousness and choose the impatient impetuousness of unrighteousness. It takes time to be still and learn about God. It takes time to learn the ways of righteousness, submission, and faith. When we are impatient, we fall away from those ways and the choices of evil can become alluring.
Me thinks, too, that these are the ways of the Force. Note to Star Wars fans: don’t navel-gaze too long at this idea but also don’t miss these overtones in the movies. The way of God is the way of righteousness, and the way of righteousness takes patience and time. Sort of like learning to be a Jedi.
For further reading: Matthew 4:4, Hebrews 6:1, 1 Corinthians 2:6, 1 Corinthians 3:2, 1 Corinthians 14:20, 1 Peter 2:2, Isaiah 7:15, Psalm 46:10
Lord Jesus, I pray You to feed me the food I need. Feed me milk in my impatient times, and I pray for more substance when You see I am ready for it. Thy will be done, Lord.