An Intellectual Hobby

    There are many who are very interested in religion, yet there is something seriously lacking in their spiritual life. Their interest in religion has been their main intellectual hobby. They often come across as very serious students of the Scriptures. They have read, reasoned, debated and argued about it. They get quite excited in any discussion that has an intellectual concept. They love the challenge of debate where they can pit their knowledge against someone else’s. To them, religion is something to talk and debate about, something one can take up or put down. It never becomes an integral part of their inner heart experience. It always stays upstairs in the head where it remains fruitless as far as spiritual growth is concerned, never getting down to become a vital part of their Christian walk. It makes knowledge an end in itself, and is valueless to the follower of Jesus.

There are many things in the Scriptures that are fascinating and challenging to our minds, and are open to various interpretations or opinions. However, the result of intellectual debates on such things adds little value to spiritual growth and is what the Apostle Paul warned us about in Titus 3:9: “But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless.”

    One wonders what the motive is behind one who keeps bringing up their intellectual hobbyhorse at every opportunity. For instance, some have learned a little about the Greek language, considering themselves somewhat of an expert, wanting to express their knowledge every chance they get. Why?  What is their motive? Is it to help others to better understand the Scriptures, or is it merely to show others what they know? This can be a very subtle thing and an area where someone can easily deceive themselves by justifying their motives. Pride is often hidden way down in one’s subconscious. They would absolutely and categorically deny that any pride resides in their hearts, and they are often the last one to recognize that it resides within them.    

    If the pursuit of Scriptural knowledge is with the motive of accumulating it for intellectual purposes alone, this should be a signal that something very vital is missing in the quest. Unless our thirst for knowledge and wisdom is based on humility, it will not accomplish the purpose for which God meant it. James 3:17 states, “But the wisdom that comes from heaven  is  first of all pure;  then  peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.”

    We also find in the Book of Hebrews the contrast being made between the “milk” of God’s Word and “strong meat” or “solid food.” For some strange reason many have mistakenly come to associate intellectual knowledge with the “strong meat” or “solid food” of God’s Word. However, we read some significant words in Hebrews 5:11-6:3, “We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. 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. Therefore, let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so.”

    No, spiritual maturity is not found in intellectual knowledge, though knowledge is important to one’s faith. Spiritual maturity is being able to recognize and choose the way of righteousness over evil or unrighteousness. God’s main interest and end result is to change us into the image or likeness of His precious Son (Romans 8:29). The Apostle John beautifully describes this end result in 1 John 3:2-3: “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” 

    How do we purify ourselves if we have this hope born within us? Is it not by heeding the directions and guidance of the Holy Spirit, that “still small voice” of a God regulating conscience, which will help us to walk in the ways of righteousness? When we choose wrongly and sin, the indwelling Holy Spirit will convict and direct us to the throne of grace. 1 John 1:7-9 tells us, “But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” The more attuned and obedient we are to the Lord’s commandments, the less likely we are to stray from the path of righteousness; and the less we will have to bring before the Lord in confession, repentance and ask for forgiveness.

    Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). The importance of obedience in the case of King Saul is very strongly described in 1 Samuel 15:22-23: “Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He has rejected you as king.” Obedience is no less important today for those called to be the “sons of God” with the hope of one day being part of the “bride” of Christ. “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26). “Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and His bride has made herself ready” (Revelation 19:7).

    How did the Lamb’s bride make herself ready? It was by living a life of trustful obedience. It was by allowing God to have His way in their lives. “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose” (Philippians 2:12-13). God is able to work out His work in us only if we are obedient. Obedience is the key to how we “continue to work out our salvation.” It is by being faithfully obedient unto death that we shall become like Jesus and find ourselves in the beautiful position of 1 John 3:2 quoted above.

    If we do our part, we are assured in Philippians 1:6 that God will do His part, “Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” The day of Christ Jesus is beautifully described in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17: “According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.”

    Let us continue towards spiritual maturity by not only discerning what is evil, but by always choosing the best, and obediently being totally pliable to God’s perfect will for us, for then we will glorify Him while still here on the earth, following in Jesus footsteps who has gone before us. To God be the glory, forever and forever.  Amen.
E. Weeks ©CDMI

Verse of The Day

James 1:19
//
May 25, 2017

“[Listening and Doing] My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,”

Verse of The Day

Discipling Daily to Maturity

The Kingdoms of This World

2017-05-06

    Earthly governments are controlled by the men or women who have gained their position...

Read More

Grace and Peace

2017-05-06

    Grace means unmerited favor. Peace means quietude and freedom from concern.  When we receive...

Read More

God's Possessive Ownership

2017-05-06

"I am Yours; save me!”- Psalm 119:94.    OUR TEXT, a jewel of truth, ex¬presses the...

Read More

Following Jesus

2017-05-06

    Those of us who have “EYES THAT SEE” AND “EARS THAT HEAR” (Matt. 13:16)...

Read More

Christ is ALL and ALL to Us

2017-05-06

Because He Died and Rose Again:    1. The veil is removed in Christ. 2 Corinthians...

Read More

Ignoring Your Conscience

2016-04-16

Conscience is a God-given faculty that, if properly regulated, should direct us in making wise...

Read More

Why Is It More Blessed To Give Than To Receive?

2015-06-03

The answer to the question above could simply be, "this is what Jesus said, (quoted...

Read More

Were Not Ten Cleansed?

2015-05-31

Were Not Ten Cleansed?

“And Jesus answering said, ‘Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine?There is...

Read More

Two Men Went to the Temple to Pray

2015-05-31

How often do we stop to consider whether we ourselves are becoming like the manwho...

Read More

The Quiet And Gentle Spirit

2015-01-27

Which In God's Sight is Very Precious A Prayer: Lord for tomorrow and its needs I...

Read More

A Message to Fathers

2015-01-26

“I will walk in my house in the integrity of my heart.” Psalm 101:2   A Message to...

Read More

Making good use of your knowledge PT2

2015-01-26

Are You Making Good Use Of Your Knowledge? What good is it, if we study the...

Read More

Part VII – Looking Ahead

2015-01-22

The Road Ahead      So, you are now part of a functioning house church. You...

Read More

Part VI – Patterns and Practices

2015-01-22

     In previous articles, we looked at the need for the house church, group...

Read More

Part V – Doctrine

2015-01-22

    Our house churches are often comprised of people from various backgrounds, and questions...

Read More