Monday, November 21, 2016

Milk Drinkers

I love milk.  Actually, I love all dairy products.  They do not "love me", however.  Unfortunately, the lactose in dairy reacts badly with my digestive processes and produces vile odors, better left unmentioned.  As a result, I generally avoid consuming it.

Breast milk, however, is to a baby "perfect food".  In God's amazing design, the milk from the mother is designed especially for her baby.  And, get this - - - the milk changes as the baby grows and changes!  It does not remain constant over time.  Isn't that miraculous? The mother's body reacts to the baby's needs and without any conscious thought on the mother's part, adapts its "formula", if you'll pardon the pun, to the baby's needs.  Amazing!

The Holy Spirit longs to work in believers the same way, and godly preachers/Bible teachers do the same with their flocks.
We are, today, in Hebrews 5.  There are two main themes which deserve our meditation.

The first to consider comes in the latter part of the chapter.  The author of Hebrews is doing what I just described above.  In the first part of the chapter, he has been expounding upon Jesus' role as our high priest in Heaven today, as well as how He got to that position.  Then, after a bit, the author stops and declares that he needs to stop with that line of teaching because of the spiritual immaturity of the hearers.  (I sort of wonder what he would have said if he had gone on....)

11We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. 12In 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! 13Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
Hebrews 5:11-14 ESV

What characterizes the Christian who feeds him or herself solely or mostly on milk?  The writer states that such a person, although certainly "saved" (having a relationship with Jesus Christ) cannot consistently distinguish good from evil.  Once a person receives Jesus as Savior, Satan immediately begins to hinder the Holy Spirit's attempts to train him or her in righteousness. In other words, Satan begins to frustrate the sanctification process.  Part of that involves misleading, deluding, confusing and deceiving the young Christian about what is right and what is wrong, good or evil.

Studying the Bible on one's own and under the teaching of godly teachers is foundational to moving from "milk to solid food".  The world, under Satan's control, presents a whole lot of error disguised as "truth", when it is nothing of the kind.  The Bible is the standard, God's Word.  Anything presented in conflict with the Bible is error and must be rejected.

The author of Hebrews makes it plain here that it is each believer's responsibility to "feed on truth", in order to "train" in the Christian faith under the direction of the Holy Spirit.  The elementary, foundational truths must be embraced first, because they underlie and support the more "meaty" truths.  Christians who fail to do this will become weak and ineffective, susceptible to all kinds of distracting and dangerous error.

Make healthy (spiritual) food choices.  Don't be a Christian who requires swaddling and coddling. God can only use you in ministry to the extent that you let him.  That requires "growing up" in the faith!

Heavenly Father, at this season of thanksgiving, I am thankful for your Holy Word, your revelation to us, the Bible.  For by it, we learn about You.  May we feed on it regularly, "eating a healthy diet".  In Jesus' name, amen.