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Babies know just what to look for after they are born. Obviously, they search for nutrients and sustenance. That’s the way God designed them.
It takes nourishment to grow. The natural feeding process involves nursing.
Momma’s milk contains various nutrients and even antibiotics to help keep them healthy. Think about that for a moment and it is easy to marvel at how amazing God made us – including the infant feeding process.
It is a comparable situation when it comes to spiritual nourishment among Christians. In other words, there are the basic building blocks followed by more in-depth substance.
You wouldn’t want to give a newborn a T-bone steak. For starters, they don’t have the teeth to properly chew it. Furthermore, their digestive systems aren’t developed for solid meat.
Infants typically move on from milk to soft food – think of Gerber’s consistency. Then they graduate to more solid food. Once their teeth begin coming in, they are introduced to the meatier menu.
Babies also don’t start out walking – or even crawling for that matter. Their first moves in that realm tend to be rolling.
Additionally, babies aren’t potty trained from the get-go. It takes time and training efforts for toddlers to finally get the drift.
As a parent, I was always ecstatic when they learned the bathroom principle. Our budget went down considerably without constantly purchasing diapers and wipes. If I remember correctly, we had at least two in diapers at the same time. It can get costly!
At any rate, you want to see your young one climb up the ladder rungs, so to speak, in all these areas. You don’t want to see a 7 year old in diapers, still nursing, or remaining in crawling mode. As they grow, they need to mature in those areas.
Christians need to experience growth, as well.
Paul addressed that matter on several occasions in the New Testament.
In Hebrews 5:12, he writes: “For when the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God: and are become such as have need of milk, and not strong meat.”
The time had come that they should have advanced in knowledge and understanding of God’s Word. However, they remained at an infancy level, which revealed a lack of desire to grow.
A zeal should exist for young Christians to increase in Bible understanding. It comes from reading the Bible, listening to teaching and preaching, and through praying.
After we’ve experienced Jesus in our lives and become a child of God, there should be a desire to mature.
Peter expresses that desire in I Peter 2:2,3, when he states: “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.”
The ones Paul was addressing in Hebrews should have grown to the point they were teaching others about the Bible. But they were stunted in growth and needed to be taught the basics again. There are benefits to comprehending the deeper things of God. If we remain on milk, we can’t be used as much as a teacher or preacher.
Hebrews 5:13, “For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.”
However, the meat of the word helps in our efforts to grasp between right and wrong.
Paul states in Hebrews 5:14 of our need to mature in Christ. “But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”
The Corinthians experienced difficulty growing spiritually because of certain negative characteristics being displayed.
Paul addressed those issues in I Corinthians 3:20-23: “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?”
Paul delved into spiritual growth – it is time to grow up – in another part of I Corinthians.
“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” – I Corinthians 13:11