Attitude and Frame of Mind
Elder Keith Ellis
"At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes."
This is a profound statement made by Christ. It conveys to us the scriptural truth that God reveals His truths to His children. Even the fact that Jesus is Christ, The "Son of God," is revealed. (see Matthew 16: 13-17). And until the time it pleases God to reveal His word to us we do not possess the ability to discern the mysteries of God (see Matthew 13: 11). God Himself is Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in truth (see John 4: 24). And not until we are born of the Spirit of God do we have the ability to discern or understand things of God's Spirit, which things the Bible consists of (see 1 Corinthians 2: 10-14).
In fact Jesus very plainly tells the facts about those who are not born again;
"He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God." John 8:47
And as much as we might like to think otherwise, Jesus speaks the truth.
So immediately we see that we do not have the capacity by natural means to attain unto the wisdom of God. Job said it like this:
"Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou by searching find out the Almighty unto perfection?"
If we approach our study of God's mysterious word in fleshly pride we can expect that the true meaning of God's word will be hidden from us. Yet at the same time we become prime targets for Satan to deceive us in God's word. Pride and humility are opposite extremes. Satan loves pride, but God abhors it (see 1 Peter 5:5-6). All the study we engage in relying upon our own ability to find out God is useless.
The title text teaches us many things, the first thing being that we must recognize that we have no wisdom of our own. All of our wisdom amounts to nothing more than foolishness (see 1 Corinthians 1: 17-20). By now we should see that there is a necessity to desire the wisdom of God. We also see that it is God who reveals His truths and also exercises His right to withhold the truth from whomsoever He will. Seeing that this is the case, our attitude and frame of mind should be one of humility. Remember,
"The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom; and before honor is humility." Proverbs 15:33
And just as a baby is dependent upon its earthly parents to fulfill all its needs, even so we should be totally dependent upon our heavenly Father to meet all our spiritual needs and to guide us in our journey through the word of God. There is not another option if we desire to draw nigh unto God. The closer we adhere to these principles and apply what we learn, the purer our walk with God will be in this lifetime.
The title text continues to teach us that we should recognize God as "Lord of heaven and earth." It is this same Lord who is the authority that upholds the word which we hope to learn to study. This is very important. We must keep in mind that this book is inspired of God (see 2 Timothy 3:16 & 2 Peter 1:21). All that God says He will do in this book is sure to come to pass. God is not a man that he should lie. His word to us is sure and steadfast. It is complete to fit us with all that we will ever need to grow spiritually while
here in this time world. This word is God-breathed. And this word is sufficient to answer any and all circumstances that may arise as we endeavor to serve God on this side of eternity. This word unfolds God's purpose of redemption to a people who have no hope, but now because of the good news this word brings we are able to glorify God in hope of eternal life. This word has stood the test of time and has been preserved for you and me up to this very day by the providence and power of God. All this being true, we should hold the Bible in esteem over the writings of men. The word of God is to be our only rule of faith and practice. This is the authority to rule our church and individual lives. This is not only our authority, it is our "final" authority.
Jesus also says in the title text that the truths of God's word are revealed unto babes. Now this is not to be taken literally. This has reference to the humility of a child as mentioned briefly above. Jesus tells us in another place that in order to enter into the kingdom of God we must be converted and become as little children (see Matthew 18:3) This is not talking about literally becoming little children. It has direct reference to the humility of a little child. This writing may be addressing someone who is old enough to have children of their own. Now just as we expect our children to be obedient and submissive to the "rules" we have in our homes, so also God expects us to be obedient to His word. If we desire to enter God's kingdom ( the blessings of God received in the church) we must in humility under the mighty hand of God believe and act upon His word.
In 1 Peter 2:1-3 we read:
"Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, as new born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby; if so be that ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious." 1 Peter 2:1-3
Here God, through the writings of Peter, is telling us what we must do in order for the desire for the "sincere milk of the word" to be manifested to us. We must lay aside the works of the flesh mentioned in verse one. Once repentance from these works is evident in our lives, then God will grant us grace and the desire for the sincere milk of the word to come to us! Notice he says the "sincere" milk. This word in the Greek means, "unadulterated" or "undeceiving." We have all at one time or another heard the term "unadulterated truth." This is what we need and nothing short of it.
I sometimes tell people that once they have committed their lives to serving The Lord that they need to spend their time filling their minds with the good things of God. It is sort of like the computer. If we put good things in, we can expect good things to come out. But if we put garbage in, we can expect garbage to come out. The same is true with our minds; we should lay aside the things of our former walk and fill the void, so to speak, with the things of God's word.
So the sincere milk of God's word is to help us grow. And in growing spiritually we become better equipped to resist the works of the flesh which seem to trouble us on a daily basis. It is, I believe, that milk is mentioned in contrast to meat. (see 1 Corinthians 3:2 & Hebrews 5:12-14). A babe does not have the teeth needed to chew meat. Nor has its digestive system developed sufficiently in order to digest meat. It must have milk. Keep in mind that most often a baby will try to put just about anything in its mouth. It does not know any better until it is taught that there are only certain things that go into the mouth. So we have to be careful that the baby does not put something in its mouth that it can "choke" on. The same is true in our spiritual lives. We should not concern ourselves with the more difficult verses in the Bible. They may cause us to choke. But rather we should allow time for our spiritual teeth and digestive system to develop. Then we will be able to enjoy the meat of God's word without choking. Therefore seek out the leadership of the Spirit of God to guide you to verses that you can understand. Lay a solid foundation of patience and wait upon the Lord to help you grow in knowledge and in grace. Look for the simplicity in Christ when you look into the word of God.
If we are obedient to that which God reveals to us through the study of His word then we can expect that God will give us more "light." But understand this: The more light God gives to us, the more He requires of us (see Luke 12:42-48). This is an area where many of God's children stumble. In God's word we find the nourishment that is necessary to support and sustain our spiritual welfare on this side of heaven. If we refuse that nourishment, it is like going on a hunger strike. It will not be long before the consequences will become life-threatening. And we can place ourselves in the awful position of being cast into outer darkness by refusing God's instruction. Our spiritual lives will suffer and instead of pressing forward we will be found to be backsliding. There is no such thing as attaining the "status quo" in the Christian walk. We are either moving forward or sliding backwards.
But God has so blessed His word, when attended by the conviction and presence of the Holy Spirit, to be lamb and sheep food. It is this food alone that will fill the emptiness we feel inside that we have often experienced in times past. Though man has sought out many things to attempt to fill the void, whether it be alcohol, drugs, sex, money, material possessions, power or whatever, only the things of the Spirit of God will answer the hunger pains we have (see Matthew 5:6). How I wish I had learned this experience earlier in my life. I am certain that much heartache and sorrow could have been avoided, not only in my life, but also in the lives of those who were affected by my rebellious attitude. But as most people do, I was walking according to the sight of my eyes (see 2 Corinthians 5:7). The flesh led me astray and blinded me from what is right and good in the sight of God. So now we see that the flesh or our natural man is contrary to the things of the Spirit of God ( see Galatians 5:17) So much of God's word will be distasteful to the natural man and will trouble you as you attempt to feed your spirit man through God's word. But if you lean upon God and trust Him to help you and if you remain persistent in your Bible study, God will bless your efforts. And your ability to subdue and to bring under control the works of the flesh will be strengthened.
Believe what God says, even if you do not understand it. I remember a time when my children were very small. They would faithfully believe whatever I told them. And I saw that the things that I told them were important elements that helped to make up their character. What I told them affected how they would later look at things in life. The things I told them would make a lasting impression. The things that I did or did not do also made a lasting impression upon them for perhaps a lifetime. I may have been wrong in some of the information I passed along to my children, but be certain that it is not so with God. All He tells us through His word is right and good for us.
I remember when my children were young whatever I told them, they believed it was the truth. If I were to tell them the moon was made of cheese they would believe me. And if the subject of the moon came up among their little friends, you can be sure that they would defend the fact that the moon is made of cheese, concluding the story by saying, "My daddy said so." Do you remember the last time you saw two young children argue between themselves about how big and strong their daddy is?
Now just as our children believe what we tell them, we should also believe what God tells us in His word, without doubting. This is humility and God requires this attitude and frame of mind in His children for all who enter into His kingdom.
And just as when we were little children we defended what our daddy told us, we should defend what our heavenly Father has told us. This is love. So remember that we are to believe even if we do not understand (see Hebrews 11:6). This is where your faith comes in. Faith means that we must believe God regardless of what the situation may look like to us in a natural sense. Faith tells us that God is able to deliver us and that nothing is too hard or impossible for Him to accomplish. Faith tells us that God can and does teach His children about His word.
Remember, God is a rewarder of those that "diligently" seek him.