As noted in earlier devotionals, my series of devotions from Psalm 119 parallel my January 2016 sermon series at Hillsdale Baptist Church. I am amazed at the golden nuggets of spiritual truths found in every verse of this chapter that spotlight the scriptures in a manner that should challenge every Christian to be a dedicated student of the Word of God. My series title for Psalm 119:129-144 is: Principles and Precepts for a Victorious Life: Fourteen Qualities of a Thriving Soul.
“Failure to thrive” is an ominous term I have heard doctors use for both the very young and elderly patients. The terminology is not a disease, but a description of a patient who is failing; failing to gain weight, failing to grow and failing to mature. It is a state of being undernourished despite the heroic actions taken to encourage physical weight gain and well-being.
The term, “failure to thrive”, is a fitting diagnosis for many who profess to be Christians in America, but sit in their churches year after year with no visible signs of spiritual life, health and growth. Christians in American are hardly undernourished when it comes to physical weight; however, there are too many who are spiritually undernourished…failing to grow and mature spiritually.
The writer of Hebrews observed the same malady in the 1st century church when he wrote:
Hebrews 5:12-14 – “For when for the time ye ought [duty bound] to be teachers [Instructors; length of time they had been instructed], ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God [Old Testament sayings]; and are become [having degenerated] such as have need of milk [unable to chew solid food], and not of strong meat [solid food; advance doctrines].
13 For every one that useth [eat; drink] milk is unskilful [ignorant; inexperienced] in the word [doctrine; preaching] of righteousness: for he is a babe [spiritually immature].
14 But strong meat [solid food] belongeth to them that are of full age [mature], even those who by reason of use [having exercised in the past] have their senses [discernment; perception] exercised [train; workout; disciplined exercise] to discern both good and evil [moral and immoral].”
“Failure to thrive” is the malady of the 21st century church. Although we live in a day of mass communication and modern technology has put within our reach opportunities of studying and hearing God’s Word taught 24\7; the sad reality is there is a gross ignorance of the scriptures. Like the 1st century, there are Christians who should be faithful students and teachers of the Bible, but are content with being spoon-fed the puree of elementary truths in churches more focused on entertaining the masses than the faithful exposition of God’s Word.
A spiritually anorexic Christian is the portrait of 21st century Christianity in America! No wonder sin and lawless liberty abounds within our churches; we have fostered a generation of carnal Christians who demand pandering because they are spiritual babies desensitized to sin by their ignorance of the Truth!
I close with the first of fourteen spiritual principles for studying the Word of God: Be passionate: The testimonies of the LORD are “wonderful”.
Psalm 119:129 – “Thy testimonies [witness; admonitions; ordinances] are wonderful [marvelous; astonishing]: therefore doth my soul [life; person] keep [preserve; guard] them.”
Copyright 2016 – Travis D. Smith