“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.”
The Christian life is a call to be a student … to be an apprentice. It is a call to listen to the voice of truth and learn the standards of how life works in the world that was created by God, broken by sin, and redeemed by Jesus. It is a call to trust God, pursue truth, and do the work to learn and grow to maturity and fruitfulness.
Scripture tells us repeatedly that the Christian life is learned. To be specific, there are things the Lord gives us as a result of being saved and redeemed, things that we cannot earn. These are gifts of grace. There are other elements of the Christian life that require us to do work to learn and develop in response to being saved.
Faith and trusting God is a necessary prerequisite for both categories. To be saved, we must trust God and accept the gift of salvation. To grow in Christ, we must trust God and commit to the disciplined process of learning the knowledge and skills necessary for spiritual maturity.
Proverbs chapter 2 is helpful in this regard. It is a single, extended discourse of a father to his son. The chapter is written as if the father took a deep breath and then gave this speech in one long sentence. It is structured as a lengthy conditional sentence: If you relentlessly pursue wisdom, then you will grow to maturity and experience blessing. The first four verses are the if statement in the father’s message, and the rest of the chapter provides two different then statements.
The message of chapter 2 is also unique because it has no imperatives. The imperative mood in grammar is the mood of command. As you read through this chapter, you will notice there are no imperative verbs. There are statements of fact and descriptions of action, but there are no commands. The father simply tells his son how the world works, and describes the conditional nature of learning the way of wisdom.
If you diligently seek wisdom, then you will find it and be blessed. If you don’t diligently seek wisdom, then you will not find it and you will not be blessed.
Here is the message of Proverbs 2 to the Church in the 21st Century: Be an apprentice. Listen to wise, mature Christian leaders and let them teach you about how life works. Get trained in the principles of how God has designed His universe. Learn the knowledge, wisdom, and skills you need in order to live and work successfully.
To repeat, be an apprentice.
This is a consistent message throughout scripture: It is the role of parents to train their children in the ways of the kingdom of God. It is the role of children to listen and learn. Throughout history, young people have always learned the fundamental skills of life and work through the teaching of their parents, and they learned the skills of a profession or trade through apprenticeship to someone who was experienced and skilled in the work. This has always been the process of learning the skills necessary for any job: farmer, hunter, merchant, craftsman, baker, accountant, physician, teacher, coach, pilot, firefighter, police officer, coder, web designer, etc..
So let’s get personal. Where are you in the process of spiritual apprenticeship? Are you being trained by wise Christian mentors and teachers? Are you trusting God and doing the work to learn the knowledge (doctrine) required for maturity in Christ? Are you trusting God and doing the work to learn the skills (disciplines) required for bearing fruit in your family, your work, your community, and the church?
Again, Proverbs 2 is a call to be an apprentice. It is a call to listen to the voice of truth and learn the standards of how life works in the world that was created by God, broken by sin, and redeemed by Jesus. It is a call to trust God, pursue truth, and do the work to learn and grow to maturity and fruitfulness.
The Lord is calling.