Saturday, July 8, 2017
Examining Our Diet
Heb. 5:11 About this we have much to say that is hard to explain, since you have become dull in understanding. 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic elements of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food; 13 for everyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is unskilled in the word of righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, for those whose faculties have been trained by practice to distinguish good from evil.
The author to the Hebrews is concerned that these followers of Christ may not be growing spiritually. Because they have failed to continue in their spiritual development they have become difficult to teach. Their understanding has become dull, without any kind of brightness or shine in desire to become like Christ.
The chiding continues, for not only were they to have grown spiritually, but they were to have been fed well enough that they would be able to disciple others. This is where the metaphor of feeding begins to take shape and an examination of their diet appears. Just as small children grow, so spiritual children are to grow. An infant’s diet consists only of milk and only after time are they able to handle solid foods. The expectation is for God’s people to be able to eat a regular diet of adult food. It is only when we are fed from solid food for the mature that we are able to clearly discern what is happening in the spiritual realms and can see the difference between good and evil.
Having little grandchildren in our home has helped me to relive the whole adventure of feeding children. The five month old continues to feed only on milk, although it seems that it is no longer completely satisfying. She awakens during the night hungry and needs more and more to eat. Just this week a few solids have been added to her diet because of her growth needs. If she were to continue to be fed only milk she would not gain enough weight as she grows and could develop something that is medically called, “failure to thrive.” When our diet continues to consist of milk or baby food — we will fail to thrive spiritually. For an infant it means potential death. For a spiritual infant, it can mean death as well.
Our spiritual journey is to be one of continual and on-going growth. We are to push ourselves to move on to more and more solid food. It means that we must challenge ourselves to continually mature in our diet. Our personal time with the Lord ought to include reading and studying things that will challenge us and maybe sometimes make us uncomfortable. If we think that we have everything all figured out, just spend more time with Jesus and he will push our boundaries and make us think about things in new and different ways that will force us to ask questions.
There is nothing wrong with asking questions! Our other granddaughter will be two this coming week. She knows how to ask questions and her diet is much different from that of her little sister. Her parents are very careful about the food their children eat and this child eats fruit, vegetables, eggs, cheeses and meats. She is a very healthy eater and when grandma slipped her a chocolate covered cherry without thinking, she looked at me and asked, “what is it?” A good question because this was not something her parents would have given her. Even at nearly two years of age, she has become much more mature than her baby sister and is discerning about what she puts into her mouth. She’s learned to ask an important question, “what is it?” That’s what happens when we move on to maturity. We become discerning regarding what is good and/or healthy and what is not. Therefore when we are handed something that just doesn’t seem right we immediately ask,”what is it?” “Is this really something that I should be devouring?” No longer are we simply fed as an infant, eating whatever our parents hand us, but we begin to ask questions.
Maybe it’s time to examine our diet and see what we are consuming. If we have failed to move on to more mature things spiritually then we may be suffering from “failure to thrive.” The majority of Christianity finds itself in that very place. They are fed by the food of going to church on an irregular basis and after years become weak and tired and fall away from the faith. According to Barna’s research, very few are willing to go deeper. Only infants would expect to be fed spiritually by others. When we expect the church to spoon feed us spiritually we are not growing to the place where we need to be. We must learn to feed ourselves and grow into spiritual maturity, and then we will be able to teach others.
Lord, please help me not to become complacent with my spiritual diet, but to be fed daily by you. Fill and stretch my mind to the limits of my understanding so that I may be used by you. Amen.