Posted by: matthewharri | December 14, 2010

Strong Meat: On the Hunt for My Soul’s Eternal Food

Paul (um, I mean, the “writer of Hebrews”) says in Hebrews 5:13-14, “For every one that uses milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongs to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”

I believe this passage is reiterating Jesus’ teaching that “the Kingdom of heaven allows violence, and the violent take it (the Kingdom) by force.” (Matthew 11:12) What we need not imagine is bludgeoning and clamoring our way up the “survival of the fittest” ladder to heaven. It’s not that kind of violence He is advocating. He is speaking of spiritual violence, an active “fighting against” the lusts of our flesh, a resolve of soul to not partake of anything that would defile us or offend our heavenly Father in any way.

Let’s take a look at one of the most non-violent creatures on the planet: a newborn. What is needed for a hungry babe to obtain milk? Absolutely nothing! The milk comes to him. That’s the nature of things. It’s perfectly appropriate for a newborn’s sustenance to come right to him, for him to sit around and wait for milk. However, it is quite unbefitting for a teenager, much less a full-grown man.

On the other hand, what is the process for obtaining meat? First, we must assume the deep freezer is empty and the grocery store is closed. Meat is obtained in the very time and energy consuming process of getting up early, searching for tracks and clues left behind by the animal, finding a hide, waiting, remaining quiet, then sighting and fighting the animal until they are overcome. You must win the battle with the animal in order for meat to be your prize. Yes, killing is necessary for the obtaining of meat. Soooo not PC, I know.

So, if physical violence is necessary in the natural for the obtaining of physical meat, then what the writer of Hebrews is saying by implication is that spiritual violence is necessary for the spiritual obtaining of meat for the soul and is an evidence of maturity.

Maturity in righteousness demands focus of soul. The process does not come easily or naturally, and often is not that enjoyable. Unlike the newborn who simply wails until something comes his way, the mature man or woman of faith must intentionally and energetically pursue righteousness, must hunker down into an appropriate “hide” (Jesus called it the “secret place”), must eagerly and attentively search and pursue truth from the Word, must violently fight against the flesh and must, in the end, overcome. The end result of the violent struggle is maturity, something heaven is joyfully full of, which is why it not only allows violence, but actually demands it.

Though the process of sanctification (increasing God’s righteousness in one’s life) may be unenjoyable, the fruit (albeit meaty fruit) of such rigors, is not just enjoyable to the soul that overcomes, it is also a veritable banquet of righteousness destined for the delight of many.

Father, by the strength of the Holy Spirit and by following the example of Your Son, Christ Jesus, I declare that it is my destiny to walk in mature righteousness. Help me in my weakness. Forgive me as I stumble. My true heart’s desire is to be pleasing to You, to live according to the righteous standards you have given. Grace me to follow your ways, to traverse victoriously upon the narrow and difficult path that leads to life. Amen.

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