I didn’t know that Keith had taken Chloe’s food pan and set it in my chair on the carport when he blew the dust off a few Saturdays ago. He didn’t notice that she had left a few kibbles. Neither one of us knew that a few fire ants had gotten in there and they had migrated out to my chair when he disturbed them. I didn’t know they had started crawling into my clothes when I sat down there until a few minutes after we walked back into the house. Suddenly I was ripping off my clothes and slapping myself. I wound up with bites on my chest, back, arms, and legs, and a ring of them around my neck. I felt lousy for a day or two, not to mention the aggravating itch. What I didn’t know did in fact hurt me quite a bit.
That seems obvious, but sometimes we act like ignorance is a viable excuse for most anything. And indeed, sometimes it is. A new Christian has a lot to learn. As long as he is studying and praying and trying as hard as he can to learn what he needs to be and do, his prayer for the grace of God will keep him safe. I believe that with all my heart.
But when I have been a Christian for years and years and have done nothing to learn and grow, or have simply stopped, that is inexcusable.
Learning new facts can be difficult, especially as I grow older. Trying to see past the superficial to the amazing depth of God’s word can mean I must try to comprehend things I have never even thought of before. Yet how many times have I heard “I never heard of such a thing” as the instant dismissal of a new thought in a Bible class? How many times have I heard people complain because a class was “too deep?” What a shameful thing for a Christian to say.
Then we get to the crux of the matter, for applying principles to my life can be as painful as a shirt full of fire ants. Who in the world actually wants to know what they are doing wrong? Why, I’ve been a Christian forty years; I’m not about to admit I still have weaknesses I need to confront in anything but a general way.
That is, however, exactly what God expects of us. The shame is that usually the babes in the Word are hungrier to learn and grow than we old-timers. But we had better shape up, sooner rather than later, or ant bites will be the least of our problems.
Hear the word of Jehovah you children of Israel, for Jehovah has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth or goodness or knowledge of God in the land. My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I will reject you…Hosea 4:1,6.