Hebrews 5:12-13 admonishes its audience for their immaturity: "You need milk, not solid food; for everyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is unskilled in the word of righteousness." The truth of this statement stings, but also aims us toward the goal: "Solid food is for the mature." Being grown up, that's the goal. And the mature, the text continues, are those "whose faculties have been trained by practice to distinguish good from evil." Grown-up Christians can distinguish. They can tell the difference. They discern.
This growth comes through practice. "Trained by practice." Think about every word of that phrase.
So many of our life skills come through focused, purposeful repetition. Training by practice. Pick any skill. There are no shortcuts that allow for us to dispense with repetitive practice. The accomplished piano player never gets over drilling on the scale. The serious...
Growing spiritually calls for growing intellectually. In our pragmatic American culture, we don't sufficiently see this connection. I'm on my own mission to convince the willing to seek healing for this blindness. To grow spiritually always involves growing in understanding. To grow in understanding is exactly what growing intellectually means.
What gets in our way?
For one thing, growing intellectually seems like it demands lots of leisure time, which most of us think we don't have. But don't we? Is lack of time really a problem? How much discretionary time do you have daily? Even if you are extremely busy, could you find an hour a day to read, think, and pray? Do a time audit. How much time do you spend on social media? In front of the TV? (I have the same struggle.)
For another, time constraints aside, many people simply don't connect the intellect to spiritual growth. It is enough to feel some...