"But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil." Hebrews 5:14 ESV
Why does God allow us to face temptation and hardship? Why doesn’t He just smooth the way for us and deliver us from having to face any kind of temptation? He knows how weak we are!
Children don’t do a very good job of discerning between what’s appropriate behavior and what isn’t. They are mostly thinking only of what they want and how everything affects them. As we grow up we learn to discern between right and wrong choices and we begin to think more about how our decisions affect other people for good or ill.
A sign of maturity in both children and adults is how we make choices, taking into account the consequences of those choices and choosing to do the right thing, no matter how the decision might run contrary to our own personal desires or comfort. If we never have to make those choices - and face the consequences of our decisions - we never “grow up.”
Spiritual maturity works the same way. God’s Word here defines spiritual maturity as “having our powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.”
We can’t deepen our understanding of God and His Word; we can’t get to know Him better; unless we grow up into spiritual maturity. Until then He has to keep us on a diet of milk, not solid food. That process involves facing temptation and learning to discern and choose the right. And that implies “opportunities to make bad choices“ along the way.
As a loving Father, He will not let you be tempted beyond your strength. But He will let you face temptation, so that you can practice discernment, sharpen your spiritual senses through constant practice, and grow up in Christ.
Father, you know my weakness and my spiritual immaturity. Thank you for forgiving my stumbling attempts at doing the right thing when I fail so often. Open my eyes to practice discernment as I face trials and temptation. I want to know You better, so help me to “grow up.“ Amen.
Pastor Dan Giles