Cut Your Teeth Kendall Lankford
January 4, 2018
I have had the privilege of watching three little lives come into this world. And one thing I am fascinated by is how they refuse to stay little. They yearn and struggle ahead, intuitively, while I am sadly wiping away tears and wishing they would stop. I want them to stay little because that is what is best for me. But, that is clearly not what is best for them. They were made to mature. They are looking forward to the next season of life, instead of trying to stay locked in perpetual immaturity.
An infant knows not to get too comfortable with its own bottle. It won't survive very well if it does. So, it gnaws and slobbers all over tougher textures, imperfectly at times, painfully at times, not even fully digesting at times, because it is trying to cut its teeth on something of greater substance. What a wonderful metaphor for us who are in Christ!
You see, in the same way, we ought not grow too comfortable with the milky truths that we have been nourished on. In one season, that is exactly what we need. But as we mature, we must cut our teeth on something tougher. Instead of getting stuck, we ought to gnaw on something that challenges us. We ought to slobber over some great rich Christian classic or over some weighty matters of doctrines of substance by a theologian. We ought to dive into the parts of the Word that we typically avoid and sink our budding teeth into them as well, fully expecting to get fed by Christ! We ought to eat for the next season of our maturity in Christ, challenging ourselves and attempting to grow, instead of trying to stay perpetually where we already are.
You may not be able to understand perfectly right now. What you are reading may not get fully digested on your first attempt. But, as you struggle ahead, you will find that the heavier truths will satisfy your growing hunger for God in ways that milk and pacifiers can no longer.
What are some things you can do to challenge yourself this year?
- Pick a book of the Bible that you are not familiar with and dive in. Read it 5-10 times through, take notes on it, journal through it, pray into it… You will be surprised at what hidden jewels the Lord will allow you to uncover.
- Read a book by a Puritan author. The language is not always easy, the topics are often heavy, but these men were captivated by God and often dove deeper than most of us will ever be blessed to go. In fact, other than the Word of God, the vast majority of my reading is by Puritan authors. Some great puritan books I have read recently are:
- The Rare Jewell of Christian Contentment – Jeremiah Burroughs
- The Reformed Pastor – Richard Baxter
- Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices – Thomas Brooks
- Overcoming Sin and Temptation – John Owen
- The Loveliness of Christ – Samuel Rutherford
3. You could also grab a book on theology and doctrine. There are many out there and they are very helpful! Some are great for beginners and others are great to pick up and struggle through. No matter what, these are a great blessing! Try one of the following (in order of comprehensiveness)
- Everyone’s A Theologian – R.C. Sproul
- Christian Theology – Millard Erikson
- Systematic Theology – Wayne Grudem
- Institutes of the Christian Religion – John Calvin
In sum, let us cut our teeth this year. Let this be an incredible year for growth in our Lord! The Bible is not always easy and neither is reading Puritans or theologians, but we were made to mature. We were made to grow up in Christ. We were not made to maintain.
"Therefore, let us leave the elementary teaching about Christ and go on to maturity."