Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ (Colossians 1:28).
If you told your child that you wanted him to love God and others more than himself, what would he hear? Would he know what to do? Maybe the better question is, how are you training him to accomplish the “love God, love others” goal? We want to implement the Matthew 22:36-40 plan into our children to help them think practically about it. Our kids know they are supposed to love God and others more than themselves, but they don’t understand what it practically means to live that kind of life.
Not practically living the two great commandments raises an important point: kids must learn more than Bible facts. Knowing the Bible and living the Bible are radically different things, though both pieces are needed to be mature. Knowledge only was one of the rebukes Paul leveled on the Corinthians. You see it in 1 Corinthians 8:1-2. He acknowledged that they had Bible knowledge. Knowing theology was not the issue that Paul had with the Corinthians. His rebuke was their inability (or lack of awareness) to apply the Bible to their lives.
He taught how stand-alone-Bible-knowledge led to arrogance. He warned them about this when he said that knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. He began teaching them how to apply the Bible, so their brothers would not trip up over the “meat-eating conundrum” they had with the Jews who had just become Christians. He taught that mature Christians were not just Bible smart, but they were practically equipped. A helpful equation is Knowledge + Application = Wisdom. Wisdom is the ability to apply the knowledge of the Bible in practical ways that make sense. If you have knowledge only, there will be a temptation to be arrogant. If you have application without knowledge, you will stumble into subjective weirdness.
Suppose you have a clear understanding of the Bible and can bring practical application of the Bible to your life and the lives of others. In that case, you’ll experience wisdom, which is biblical maturity. There are a lot of intelligent Bible people walking around our world today. There are many biblically illiterate individuals who are subjectively applying the Bible in ways the biblical writers never intended. We need students of the Word of God who know how to practically apply the Word of God to their lives and their culture. What the world needs are mature adults, and that is the goal for our children. To be more specific, we want them to be relationally mature Christians.
That is how we think about practicalizing Matthew 22:36-40 into their lives. Think about it with me. What are some of the more significant problems you see in yourself and others? If you could use a word, I think immaturity would be a good one.