Memories come at the most unexpected times, in the most unexpected places. My husband and I were shopping at our downtown farmers’ market recently. Two musicians playing their cellos were entertaining the holiday shoppers.
Hearing these musicians brought back memories of the time I learned to play the cello. I can remember the first time I held that cello in position. It felt as if the cello belonged there. I felt as if the cello and I were one. Over the next few years, as I practiced and gained some skill, I had the joy of making music with others as we played together in our junior high school orchestra. I was chosen to be part of the district orchestra, and from that group I was chosen to be part of a smaller ensemble that provided the music for a theatrical presentation of Aladdin at the Detroit Institute of Arts.
As I grew older, I allowed new interests to gain importance and my practice time on the cello began to fall by the wayside. Granted, I took every opportunity I was given to play my instrument, but the concentrated practice times became much less important to me. I failed to challenge myself to develop my skills, and I depended solely on the beginner’s skills I had learned up to that point.
It has now been years since I have touched my cello. I still own it, but it is tucked away in a closet. There are times when I long to play it again, but I think I fear realizing how poor my skills have become. It is much easier for me to think back on what was, rather than take the time to develop my skills to what could be.
My spiritual journey has the potential to become like my musical journey. If I am not careful, I will become complacent and content to depend upon the things I learned when I began to follow Jesus Christ. Those truths are still important and essential to living for Jesus. But, as scripture says, they are the milk that is given to newborn babies. Milk is all that newborns are able to digest.
Understanding God’s Word is like learning to play an instrument, or mastering any other skill. It takes time, and study. I began with the essentials, the things that were easy to digest and understand. However, I needed to move on from there. As children grow and develop they are able to digest more complicated food. As a person moves to the teenage years and then on to an adult, their tastes mature and develop so that they are able to enjoy a wide variety of foods. To become healthy adults we must take in more complex foods. As children of God we need to move on from the first truths we learned from God’s Word, to more complex matters of faith.
“But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?” 1 Corinthians 3:1-3 (ESV) [Also see)] Hebrews 5:11 - 14 (ESV)
To grow in Christ we need to read God’s Word daily, and listen carefully. We need to ask for understanding, accept what God’s Word is saying, and then we need to obey it. Neglecting to do any of these will stunt growth in Christ. Habitual neglect of the spiritual disciplines is tantamount to “tucking the cello in the closet.” This faith ‘within self-imposed dark walls’ makes it impossible to discern God’s voice speaking during the everyday situations of life.
“My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. Proverbs 2:1–5 (ESV)
Debi Snider... more