I am 35 weeks pregnant. Soon enough, we will be welcoming a new member to our growing family. I am excited to get to know her and see what God has in store for her. What a privilege to bring into the world a tiny human being carrying the image of the living God Who created her. This is no small privilege.
I have learned a lot through books and the wise advice of people around me, and still have so much more to understand. Yet, I know this much. Babies contain the full potential of a fully grown human, but they are fragile and must be brought up one step at a time, respecting the level they are at.
Food for the Believer
You don’t need to be a parent to know you don’t feed a newborn with a steak. Milk is what they need and will need for a little while. Eventually, they will eat pureed food, and then food with chunks in it and so forth until they can enjoy some tasty solid foods.
As believers, we are just the same. When we come to know Jesus as our Lord and Savior, knowing of Christ’s ultimate sacrifice to get us right with God by grace through faith; it is a bomb dropped on the camp of the enemy. We now belong to God, and we are born again.
We are infants in the faith and can only absorb so much at a time from Bible teachings. Our thoughts system in need of transformation, and living by faith can be both an exciting and puzzling exercise, especially at first.
Growth Brings Change
As we embrace the Word of God more and more, we become “transformed by the renewing of our minds.” (Romans 12:2, NIV.) As we grow into the knowledge and likeness of Christ, we are able to eat better food, a.k.a. feast on deeper truths of God’s character, will and Kingdom.
In 1 Corinthians 3:2–3, Paul tells the church, “I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans?”
He rebukes them, telling them that their behaviors are not that of growing Christians, but rather believers who give way too much into their selfish desires. They argue and they fight like they would without Christ. He explains that by now, they should be eating solid food, but he has to keep on feeding them as if they were babies.
Can you picture a nine-year-old with a baby bottle sucking on milk while the rest of the family is chewing on a steaming lasagna? How about the father of a family (leader) fussing over his sweet potato puree (details) while his children (spiritual children) cut their meat (dig deep into God’s Word) and chew politely (are Christlike) at the table?
Upgrade Your Meal
It may be that we need to grow, but perhaps we also need to decide to set aside the baby food and go forward with our faith. I know how comfortable it is being spoon fed the pre-chewed Word of God by ministers. You don’t have to try; you just have to show up.
One might need it for a while. If they were hurt by the church, they may be retreating to another house of God to lick their wounds and be spoon-fed while they heal. That may be necessary. Or one may be going through something so tragic that they barely have the strength to get up in the morning. For a time, they may need to take it easy. That is more than okay. By all means, if this is you, take the time you need.
If you are not in such a position, or if you’ve stayed there a little too long, you must know that upgrading your meal will only benefit you. It will bring you what you truly need to grow as a believer. Stop being spoon-fed only and start preparing your own meals.
Recipe and Nutrition
Truth is, if you remain on milk, after a while you will get bored. If you don’t go deeper with God, you might even be under the impression that what you know or have lived through is all there is to it. If walking with God loses its appeal, it is only natural to turn to something else after a while. Don’t be fooled. Eternity itself isn’t long enough to discover the infinite and beautiful nature of the Most High God.
I have found out some years ago that sitting under sound biblical teaching is not only great for growth but necessary. Some preachers will serve you milk, look for those who go deeper. I’m not saying quit your church, go on a quest for the next best thing. What I say is, attend Bible studies, take some time with a friend to dig together in the Word… Get out of your comfort zone and pray. God wants you to grow more than you do.
Here is some insight for growth in God’s Word “But whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers. (Pslam 1:2-3, NIV.)
Love, Are You Full of It?
One way good way to measure your growth and spiritual health is by the fruit you produce. If you want to know if you are walking by the Spirit, look at what the Spirit produces:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things, there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22–23, NIV.)
In its original language, fruit is singular. What it means is that the fruit of the Spirit is love. The other words describe what this love is about. If you have love, you have joy, peace, forbearance (patience/long-suffering), kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control. This also describes the character of God. Do you grow in knowledge alone or also in Christ-likeness?
This part matters because this is what God expects of us. It is also the mark of a true follower of Christ. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.” (John 13:34–35, NIV.) No condemnation here, if you feel like this is lacking in your life, ask God. He will help you. Feast on the things of God and you won’t be disappointed.