"We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil." - Hebrews 5:13-14 God likes food. I'm convinced that one of His greatest gifts to us is the ability to enjoy nourishment, physically and spiritually. Food and drink metaphors run throughout the Bible, from the moment Eve ate the apple.
+ Fruit of the Spirit.
+ The land of milk and honey.
+ Jesus as the Bread of life.
+ Living water.
+ New wine.
+ The milk and strong meat of the Word, to name just a few.
In the verse above, the writer distinguishes between "milk" and "meat," or solid food. Milk is predigested food and is especially for babies. You could have been teachers by now! the writer says. But you aren't ready. You're still living on milk and need someone to teach you the basics!
The milk of the Word is defined here as "elementary truths of God's Word."
Milk teaches us the life of Jesus and what He did for us – His birth, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension. The basic facts of our faith, and important to study and know all of our lives. We never outgrow our need for "milk."
But if you want to mature as a believer, and grow into someone who is discerning, insightful, who understands good and evil, and can experience the fullness of God's blessings, you need to move onto a daily diet of solid spiritual food! You need to grasp the deeper, living, levels of understanding that God Word delivers, and then learn to incorporate those truths into daily life.
Milk is hearing about the life of Jesus.
Meat is LIVING the life of Jesus, letting Him build strength and character into your being. The meat is what Jesus is doing NOW in His church upon the earth.
Developing discernment is vital. As we grow in the Word, we learn how to use it in our daily lives. We learn to apply it to every situation and experience, and we learn to make wise choices and judgments with compassion, understanding, and godly wisdom.
An immature believer listens to any new wind of doctrine or spiritual fad that comes along. Just as our physical bodies guide and protect us, so also we need to develop spiritual "senses" that guide and protect us well. Our spiritual "muscle" can only be developed by exercising God's Word in our lives.
I pray that you will make the study of God's Word your steady diet this year. Go beyond the basics, and dig in.Take in God's Word, digest it, let it nourish your soul and spirit, and enjoy it for the rich, abundant, and altogether satisfying feast that it is!
"Let your soul delight itself in fatness." —Isaiah 55:2
[Photo: MarS, Creative Commons]