Food for Spiritual Growth
Babies cannot look after themselves. Without care and food, they will not survive. Milk is a part of God's provision, naturally craved for when the new-born gets hungry. Certainly, a good drink of pure milk helps supply calories and the raw materials for building a healthy body. But through the act of suckling, the infant also learns relationship, becoming contented and bonding to parents and family. Peter uses this analogy for Christians who are 'born again' into God's family (John 3:3-18). All believers in Jesus Christ need regular spiritual food from the Bible if they are to grow and stay healthy themselves, and become a well-functioning part of the Body of Christ – the church.
In the same way that a cry for milk is a sign of a healthy baby, the new-born Christian should be hungry to receive truth from God. An appetite for reading the Bible, and having it explained, is a very good sign of growing as a Christian. As we get the taste for His truth, and put it into practice, we should get hungry for more of His Word (Psalm 34:8). It seems that Peter’s readers have already delighted in the truth; they have tasted that the Lord is good; they have come to Him (1 Peter 2:4), rejoiced in their salvation (1 Peter 1:5-6), started to love Him and experience the joy of His presence in their hearts (1 Peter 1:8). But Peter urged them to keep growing. To mature in knowledge and love of God they must continue to take in regular spiritual nourishment from the Word.
Although it would be nice to think that all Christians are keen to explore the deep truths of the Scripture, the worldly believer has little appetite for that (1 Corinthians 3:1-2). Apathy towards reading the Bible is a sign of spiritual sickness, a sort of spiritual anorexia - believing they will be in better shape if they do not read and digest God’s Word. What could cause such a sickness in us? Either we have wandered away from Jesus (2 Timothy 4:3-4), and have lost an appetite for truth; or we have refused to obey the truth we have received; or we are more concerned to create an image for ourselves (Romans 12:3) than to accept the privilege of growing into the image of Christ (Ephesians 4:15). Or, however religious we might be, we have never repented or welcomed Jesus (Revelation 3:19-20) and so not been born into God's family (John 1:12) at all, and are still locked into our truth-denying, God-condemning unbelief (John 3:14-18).
The remedy is to come to Jesus in repentance and faith (click onto www.crosscheck.org.uk if you are not sure what this means), choose to obey the truth you already know, and decide to take regular spiritual meals as you read God's Word and decide to live in a way that pleases Him. As we take in nourishment God will help to stir our spiritual appetite back to normal. Hopefully, Word@Work is already stirring your hunger to grow up more into Christ. Share this with one or two in your family, friends and work groups; it may be just what they need.
© Dr Paul Adams