Here in Hebrews chapter 6 the apostle proceeds to persuade the Hebrews to, to put it plainly, GROW UP and mature in their faith in order to avoid apostasy, which is the abandonment or renunciation of their faith in Christ. Paul, who most believe to be the author of this letter and one who has shown time and time again how deeply passionate he is about the spiritual health and growth of God’s people, even states plainly that he was ready, able, willing, even eager, to go on this journey with them when he wrote in verse 1, “Therefore let US leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity….”
I just love that about Paul. He didn’t just swoop in and out of a place, expecting the people to figure it all out on their own. No. He walked with them. He checked in on them - hence all of these letters we are now reading and studying. And when he had to move to a new place he ALWAYS raised up a new and qualified leader to continue on in his absence.
But that passion and calling to walk alongside, discipling, developing, and equipping others did not mean that Paul was a softie. He was definitely not a coddler or a pushover. Have you ever heard the saying “God loves us too much to leave us where we are”? Well that is definitely a sentiment shared by Paul. A truth that we see clearly here in the beginning of chapter 6 as he expresses his desire that they be growing in their spiritual strength and stature, not laying the same foundation over and over again but, instead, to begin building on the foundation which they have already laid in their hearts and lives.
And it is here, once again, that Paul declares his desire and intention to walk this journey of growth and maturity WITH them when he states in verse 3, “...And this WE will do…”
In these short but sweet statements we are being remimded that:
Our spiritual growth requires a firm decision. It’s not enough to straddle the fence of your faith thinking to yourself - I’ll give this faith thing a try. Though your faith journey may have begun with a mindset like that it is not a mindset you can keep if you are to grow spiritually, allowing us to build a strong structure on a firm foundation, confident that God is who He says He is.
He also shows us that we as ministers of the Gospel (and remember, though we may not all be full time Pastors, we are ALL called to be ministers), we are ministers who should not only teach people what to do, but should go first! Leading the charge. Leading the way. Walking with those who, like us, choose to follow.
And why is spiritual growth so important? Well, though there are many reasons, one major truth is that spiritual maturity is one of the surest ways to avoid apostasy, or the falling away from our faith. In verses 4 & 5 he even outlines for the reader how many of the seemingly stable, solid Christians easily fall away, having never matured in their faith but rather simply going through the motions of what was expected. As we read in 2 Timothy, they “have a form of Godliness but deny the power…”.
As I read these unveiled instructions, reminders, exhortations, and warnings I can almost imagine Paul, feverishly writing and praying, desperate to pass along this important truth to anyone who will listen, desiring that NO ONE would ever find themselves having walked away from their faith. In essence saying “There are going to be lots of temptations and distractions and falsehoods that you will face on this journey, but DON’T WORRY! Keep growing in your knowledge, strength, and maturity in Christ and together we will build something mighty for the Lord! I wonder what Paul would think if he were here today only to see that, despite his warnings and teachings and instructions, this cycle of building a foundation only to tear it down and start all over again continues to be an issue for so many.
So why is it that, though we have an entire Bible full of scriptures that point us to Christ as well as the gift of the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us, we continue to see this cycle of falling away amongst believers? As I thought on and prayed over this very question the Lord spoke clearly to my heart this word:
Though many have a desire for more of Him, they are not willing to surrender what they need to in order to receive it.
Talk about a light bulb moment! This is exactly why we see so many come into church on Sunday mornings declaring the goodness of God and singing songs like Make Room, which declares “I will make room for you to do whatever you want to…”, and then walk out of the doors unchanged. For it is with their mouths, and likely even some form of desire, that they cry out to the Lord for more but in their hearts refuse to truly surrender in order to make room.
So today, before you move on to anything else, will you take some time to pray that the Lord will help you in building a strong structure of faith on the foundation that has been laid? And, as you do that, ask the Lord to search your heart and reveal to you any area that YOU may be clinging to too tightly and need to surrender to Him. For many times our lack of growth and spiritual maturity isn’t about a lack of desire but rather a lack of surrender.