16th August 2011

Grow Up!

“Brothers, stop thinking like children. [On the other hand] In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults.”
1 Corinthians 14:20 (NIV UK my inset comment)

I remember once boarding a ship to return to the UK from the Channel Isles. We knew it was going to be rough: already the staff were putting out sick bags and blankets. And I wasn’t disappointed. It was gloriously rough!

At the time when we boarded I happened to notice a young man coming up the companionway with his arm around two beautiful young ladies and a third in tow. He was full of himself, totally assured and enjoying to the full his companions and the attention and admiring glances he was receiving from other young men. He had it made, and he knew it.

An hour into the journey, as I was taking a bracing walk around the deck, I noticed this young chap, hanging over the side, a sodden blanket over his shoulders, alone and forlorn. How are the mighty fallen, I thought to myself, and went in search of the young ladies. They were in the forward saloon, each with another male companion, all thoughts of their original escort forgotten. He had been so sure of his position with them but so soon was all lost.

As we grow older we grow wiser—at least we are supposed to—and are able to put the important things in life into proper perspective. But where religion is concerned, which is surely the most important priority, many of the concepts we learned as children are carried, without much consideration, into adulthood. We are sure they are right, of course. In fact, we know that they are right. How could it be otherwise?

Uncomfortably, the Bible doesn’t agree. It warns, twice, that, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death” (Proverbs 14:12; 16:25). Much better, it advises in many other proverbs to check things out, to make sure. When I was a young man I was given a piece of advice which I, of course, did not always follow: “If in doubt, check it out.” The trouble is, most of the time we’re not in doubt. I have a quotation from an unknown poet I wrote in the front of an early Bible of mine: “There is much wisdom in honest doubt.”

And my point? God would not have you accept Christianity with no more than the say-so of your parents or friends, an unquestioning believer. He wants you to have faith, which requires at times detailed knowledge. You may know that Jesus is your personal Saviour, but do you know why? Or specifically, how? Or even when he became your Saviour? Some of the answers the Bible gives might just surprise you.

Heavenly Father, the human experience is one of great doubt and at other times total assurance. As we live life, help us to recognise that the true wisdom for all human beings is to seek to know you. In Jesus’ name we pray.

Study by John Stettaford

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