The Tabernacle Scroll

Issue 81

“When I was a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways” [1 Cor. 13:11].

Babies are cute; everybody loves them. However, if they were to remain babies, not showing any sign of physical growth or change, would we not have good reason to become alarmed? Why? Because a natural process of growth and development has been impeded, and the apparent lack of development spells disaster!

What is true in the natural is true also in the spiritual. When the Bible calls us to maturity, it is calling us to change our childish ways of thinking. We are called to grow in our understanding of Him and His ways. An integral part of ‘growing up’ is leaving behind the unexamined belief patterns of childhood. Psychologists tell us that when we are children, we think in ‘fixed ways’; but as we become adolescents, we develop the ability to think ‘formally’, i.e., to employ reasoning and judgment. This continual changing process is called ‘maturing’.

Whereas as children we blindly accepted everything that we were taught, we are not expected to remain that way. We must put away our ‘Sunday-school’ ideas of God and move on. What does this ‘moving on’ involve? Let me explain.

As we begin to move out of the dependence and utter trust and simplicity of childhood, we begin to face doubts and uncertainties (amongst other things). The Apostle Thomas faced doubt, even though he had walked with Jesus and had witnessed miracles. He had a need for ‘concrete reality’. He said, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in them and my hand in his side, I will not believe”. (John 20:25). When Jesus appeared to him and convinced him, Thomas fell on his knees before him and said “My Lord and my God!”

God is kind and good to us. He has never expected the uninitiated ‘believer’ to exercise blind faith, or to believe something outside of his experience. That is why the Bible is full of evidence of His miracles, and why signs and wonders accompany the proclamation of God’s Word today. God has not changed. Experience remains a valid criterion, but for the mature Christian it must never be the only criterion!

We must make our own enquiries and face our doubts. Doubting is not wrong. Doubt is a healthy, God-given quality by which we may know truth by honest enquiry. It does not mean that we refuse to believe ‘unless we see’. Rather, having examined all of the evidence that is available to us in His word, we then believe. ‘Believing’ is possible for us because of the reality of the Holy Sprit’s work in our lives. Jesus said, “Blessed are they who have not seen and yet believe”.

            Devotional                                                                                                                            Preach The Word The Word with Pastor Joseph Rodrigues