For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. Hebrews 5:12-13
How do I become good at something? I learn the basic concepts from a teacher and then I go out and do it myself. As long as I stay with the instructor and watch him do all the work, I’ll never be anywhere. I need to be set free to begin personal application.
Think about something you’ve mastered. Whether a profession, a sport, or something you do at home, you know how, through trial and error, you’ve learned how to master the subtleties. Most likely, they are fine points you never knew existed when you began so many years ago. One such skill for me has been singing on a powerful microphone in a studio. My first experience was at age twenty-one when I recorded my first album. I was given a little instruction by some industry people. A producer and a few background singers were invaluable. I was told that the microphone is so powerful that it’s like putting your voice under a microscope. I was encouraged to sing with great attention to detail. I was told that every flutter, breath, crack, and deviation from pitch (even for a second) would be magnified. While I’ve learned all of that is true, those realities are elementary compared to what I’ve learned over four decades in front of a mic. When you put on headphones and close your eyes, you really get to know your own voice over time. You learn your where your skill starts and stops. You know that you might be able to sing a certain note but only in passing while others ~ you can hold strongly for a measure or two. You learn about full voice and head voice and where each range lies. You learn about doubling and harmonizing with yourself on multi-tracks. You learn how to match yourself so that you don’t hear the slightest ripple as one pass rubs against the other. Let one small imperfection go, and each voice added accentuates the mistake. Experience has been the classroom. Experience became the teacher.
Such is the case with scripture. If I spend my time learning about scripture but never exercise it, I am nowhere. My walk with Christ might be built on the basics but without personal application, I never enter into what experience begs to teach me. Only with repeated application will I learn the ins and outs of a spiritual concept. I will learn how faith works within my own personal makeup. I will learn how well I trust in some areas but fail to trust in others. I will learn my own limits and be able to predict failure. I will learn more about the fine points of my own vulnerabilities and be able to guard against an enemy who strategizes to specifically target them. I will understand more about God’s promises; both what He meant when He promised it and how it is actualized.
To stay in the schoolroom is to live on the milk of the Word. I’m a chubby baby without refined spiritual muscles. To gain vast experience, to know myself and to know my Lord, I must leave the nest and live on solid food. Maturity results when knowledge is tested through application, one day at a time. The more the experience, the more wisdom is revealed, layer upon layer, precept upon precept.
The real question that comes to me today is this, Lord. What specific thing haven’t I applied because I’ve been too afraid. When will I take the leap? I’ll be looking at that. Amen