This past Sunday, Pastor Ray spoke on “growing up”, specifically the stages of spiritual development that a Christian goes through in his or her walk.
As new Christians, we are considered “babes in Christ”. Babes, babies—new lives. We were all there once. And what’s the one thing that we all started out with as nourishment? Milk! Babies survive primarily on milk for the first few months of their lives. In fact, milk is considered nature’s single most complete food.
Why is this so? Milk , as a food, serves the following purposes: 1. Growth. 2. Reproduction. 3. Supply of energy. 4. Maintenance and repair. 5. Appetite satisfaction.
God’s Word is milk to the newborn Christian.
1 Peter 2:2 says:
“Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment.” (NLT)
I love the way this translation states how we should crave this “spiritual milk”—we should cry out for it!
Crying out—that’s a natural reaction when a baby is hungry. And once that hunger is addressed, the appetite is satisfied and the body is given fuel for growth, reproduction, energy, and maintenance and repair.
It’s the same with God’s Word! As “baby Christians”, we need the spiritual milk of God’s Word to grow. His Word allows is to grow in His knowledge and His grace. It nourishes our minds and souls, and helps us to maintain our walk with Him.
As newborn Christians, it’s best to ease our way into God’s Word. I’d suggest not starting in the Old Testament. It’s too easy to get bogged down in the laws of the Old Covenant. Not that it’s not important to be familiar with them—reading through them could be as exciting as watching paint dry…or grass grow. Instead, start with the New Testament Gospels. These and other chapters in the New Testament will explain the fundamental teachings of Jesus: salvation, faith, and repentance. The Psalms and Proverbs are also great books to read. Proverbs especially has lots of great lessons for day-to-day life. And, get a translation that you are comfortable with. Not everyone can be expected to comprehend the King James Version.
So, time goes on and babies grow. And, as babies grow, they begin to want more in the way of nourishment. It is at this point in their lives when they are introduced to solid foods, those that provide more of those things needed for growth and energy. We can make a parallel to our Christian walk by saying that as we grow in Christ, we need the “solid food” of God’s Word.
Hebrews 5:14 tells us:
“Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong.” (NLT)
There comes a time in our walk when we need to dig into the deeper things of God (the “solid food” or “meat”) to be aware of the power and authority that are ours through Christ. We need to be digging deep and rooting ourselves in His Word and in His promises for our lives. Just as meat provides strength for a growing body, so the Word of God provides strength for a growing Christian!