That We Might All Be Teachers

After I spent Thanksgiving with my dad, I was processing the trip and whenever I think through Bowen Family Systems things, I always pray for insight. And this time I just started dialoging with the Lord around maturity in general. I asked Him what maturity means in the kingdom, and quite frankly why I had known the Lord for so many years and was still so immature.

So, I went to Google, and searched out Scriptures on maturity. With all that came up, I got stuck on the very first one: Hebrews 5:11-14

“About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 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. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

The first thing that the Holy Spirit highlighted for me was when I read “dull of hearing.”I just immediately started praying. I don’t want to be someone dull of hearing, and what does it look like to not be dull of hearing? Because obviously immature people are dull of hearing.

As I went to a commentary on this passage it said that “receiving and responding” to the voice of the Lord is the path to maturity.

I thought of Geralyn’s word recently about how important it was that we were people of the Word.

People who were in His Word. Knew His Word. Lived by His Word.

And then I thought of how the Lord had said to us through Fr. Jordan (I think maybe at our retreat last year) how important it is to take the prophetic words we receive from Him and truly seek Him around them. Not just to say, “Oh, that’s a great word,” but then forget it and go on to the next one. Instead we’re to really honor these words He gives us by responding to them.

I didn’t feel a “rebuke” from the Holy Spirit, that He was trying to say we weren’t honoring the Lord’s words, just an encouragement to really make sufficient time to be in His Word. He was encouraging us to continually meditate on the prophetic words He has given us. We’re to seek Him around these things because this is the way to maturity. To be a people who highly esteem the words of the Lord. And what we hear, we live. How mature is that!

The second and third thing that the Holy Spirit highlighted to me in this passage was the “by this time you ought to be teachers.” and “solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”

Again, even though this passage it could be taken as discouraging and negative (like we are doing a “bad job” by not being teachers), I felt like the Lord was wording it in an encouraging way to us by saying:

“This is where you are heading. I am maturing you to be a Body of teachers.”

So, let’s be encouraged by that, and enter into what is needed to fulfill that role.

This is what the DeSilva commentary on Hebrews said:

  • “The author wants them to see themselves as teachers, of course, so that they will become active participants in the maintenance of the counter definitions and values of the Christian culture. A community of “teachers” means a community of individual members reinforcing one another’s hold on the minority culture’s values and goals, precisely the sort of community the author must shape if they are to persist in their journey against the current “and frequently the blasts) of the dominant culture and arrive at their divinely appointed goal.”
  • “He is urging them in this way to show their maturity through correct discernment of what is noble and what is base, and to show their maturity through taking on the role of community builders and sustainers of one another’s commitment to the group’s definition of reality and goals.”
  • “Having roused the audience to seek to acquit themselves of being seen as immature in their grasp of their responsibilities toward one another and in their grounding in the values and wisdom of the Christian culture, the author proposes that the hearers indeed “move on to maturity.”
  • “We need to “accept our status and responsibility as “teachers,” that is, as those who take an active role in modeling the Christian way of life (living up to “what we know”) and encouraging, exhorting, and challenging others to pursue that road more intently and wholeheartedly. This text may release the power of our congregations to become active and supportive “courts of reputation” that hold each individual member accountable to the standards revealed by God in Christ, reinforcing for one another the reality and ultimacy of those standards in the midst of a society that vociferously and effectively seeks to form in us standards of its own devising.”
  • “The author calls us to form vital communities of faith where the holiness and wonder of God’s presence is known, and where each member takes a share in the ministry of encouragement and support. From childhood we are daily assaulted by messages urging us to adopt worldly goals and values, to desire what this world offers, to seek temporal and all-too-temporary goods and achievements. we are continually being drawn, lulled, and pulled away from a pure commitment to the way that Jesus has opened up for us in his example and teaching and from a clear focus on the truly “needful” things.”
  • “Bold discipleship and prophetic witness require strong support by the faithful: our collective attention to one another can greatly multiply our individual growth in Christ, in witness and in service.”
  • “The author of Hebrews calls us to let our choices, actions, and ambitions reflect the true value of things and to pursue God’s promises with our full vigor, in full trust and firm commitment (faith).”

— DeSilva, D. A. (2000). Perseverance in gratitude: A socio-rhetorical commentary on the epistle “to the Hebrews”. Eerdmans.

That’s a lot of excerpts, and it’s probably obvious to all what it means, but I just heard the Lord in it, teaching us what it means to be a community of teachers. It really does mean what He has been saying to us for so long.

The word He’s been repeating to us, that having a way of life that reveals His kingdom ways, is vital.

That is what maturity looks like. To be those who are so trained by constant discernment to choose kingdom life as opposed to the life the world esteems. The more we do this individually and corporately, the more we will become teachers of one another, and teachers of those outside of the community. One of our biggest forms of evangelism will be our totally different way of life; where we esteem what the Lord esteems, and showing it through our life’s and the choices we make for what our lives are practically and concretely.

Having a Christian environment is crucial to our maturity.

I believe He is going to reveal exactly what that means for us.

I believe the Lord wants us to seek Him on this word of maturity for application. I know that one application is our Closer and Deeper Week. Where we say “no” to the things that can distract us from giving ourselves to the things of the Lord.

This is such an invitation of the Lord into what maturity looks like. And by entering into His invitation, it will open us up to grow month-by-month in even greater maturity.

I also know it means things in our individual lives as well. See, it’s not always just external things that we need to change, but maybe also our ways of thinking. I know for sure when the Lord was impressing this word onto me that He wanted it to be one of encouragement not discouragement. It’s not a word saying we are not enough. Rather it’s a word saying, “This is where I am taking you.” That’s exciting.

So, let’s not immediately go into thinking of all the things that need to change in our lives. Let’s enter into the Lord’s excitement.

Good things are happening.

I believe the Lord is saying to you and me, “I am maturing you to be teachers of my kingdom ways. I can give you this word because I see your readiness to receive it. Seek me on what maturity means, and I will answer you. I will direct and guide you in the paths of life to walk.”

Last Sunday, when Ethan stood up to share that He sensed the Lord was wanting to impart something to each of us that would transform us, I had actually just received a transformative word from the Lord for myself.

I had been thinking about a conversation I wanted to have with someone, but wasn’t really sure if I should bring it up or not. I know the Lord is really wanting to work on me in the area of knowing the difference between being a controlling person and being self defined. So, I was praying to Him about it while we were worshiping. He clearly said to me, “Will having this conversation lead to your maturity or the person’s maturity?”

Instantly my answer was, “No, it won’t.” So He said, “Then don’t speak. Any time you are unsure whether you need to address something or not, ask yourself that question. Will it lead to your or the others’ maturity? Then only speak if the answer is yes.”

The sense I have around the end of this passage in Hebrews, “constant practice to distinguish good from evil,” is that we will grow in maturity as we begin training ourselves to choose more and more the ways of the kingdom, as opposed to the ways of the world and our culture.

It’s this constant choice and constant discernment that will be our building blocks of maturity. So, even my example of what the Lord revealed to me personally last Sunday, that is the way He is training me in discernment.

Will having this conversation lead to your maturity or the person’s maturity?

I share this only because I know the Lord has individual ways for all of us that He will instruct us in the ways of being mature. Hallelujah and Amen to all the Lord is doing in us.

So, finally, If I were to sum it up in just a few sentences, the Lord is saying He is desiring to mature us to be a community of teachers. That is, we teach others by the way we live our lives – as a completely different reality than the one the world offers.

This is an encouraging word because He’s saying He sees this is our heart’s desire. It’s why it’s exciting! He knows we are open and ready for it. As we seek Him and He gives us specifics as a community and individually, and as we continually choose these new ways, we will become His mature church.

— Meredith (December, 2022)

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: