During the past week, I removed lots of small branches and stems from bushes, shrubs and plants. Today, I needed to deal with this by putting everything into garden bags to be disposed of. Months back, Jenny saw our neighbour pruning his shrubs and bushes. He cut everything up into small pieces to go into garden bags for disposal. Jenny came and taught me this practice. So, that was my task today. It’s quite phenomenal how a huge pile could be reduced to three garden bags. It took time … lifting each branch or stem or shrub and cutting it into small pieces … but eventually it was all reduced into three bags. You can’t put large pieces or branches into plastic bags because the bags will tear.
Some new Christians start off their pilgrimage by chewing at large chunks of material to “grow into spiritual giants” immediately. This might create lots of head knowledge, but sadly, there is seldom any heart knowledge. Heart knowledge is gathered by small bits of gospel truth at a time. Take it, read it, meditate upon it, pray through it and apply it. This is where change happens. This is where the ‘old man’ changes into the ‘new man’, A little bit at a time.
Too often people think that getting hold of huge doctrinal books and eating away quickly will grow them into great spiritual men and women instantly. Why does this not work? Because at the start of the new life in Christ, a person is a spiritual baby.
Under inspiration, Paul wonderfully explains it like this:
1Co 3:1 Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly—mere infants in Christ. 2 I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. 3 You are still worldly.
The Corinthian Church thought they were so spiritual because of what they thought proved their spirituality through “spiritual gifts” … yet all it did was prove their immaturity, their infancy in Christ! They were “still worldly”. They were like those digging into solid meat before drinking spiritual milk!
Also under inspiration, Peter explains that to enjoy victory over sin, one must “crave pure spiritual milk”. He looks at their sinful behaviour and informs them that to be overcomers, they must be like babies … spiritual babies … and suckle at the pure, divine, milk that comes from the Word of God. Little bits, small bites, piece by piece … to grow up in salvation.
1Pe 1:25b And this is the word that was preached to you. 1 Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. 2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.
Now to Hebrews, where the writer, under inspiration, says regarding deeper things in Christ that “it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn.” … Read:
Heb 5:11 We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. 12 In 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! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
There are two types of people here: first, there are “infants”, and second, there are “the mature”. The point he makes is that before solid food is eaten, milk is needed. The baby drinks milk to teach the organs how to respond to food. It’s a long, slow process before “purity foods” are given … and then some time passes before mashed food is tried.
I’m sure you get the message. Start slowly. Bit by bit. Little by little. Meditating, thinking it through, praying and then applying the teaching. This is “milk”. Don’t rush into solids until you can cope with milk. Put differently: “Once your mind is divorced from the world; once the old nature has largely been subdued; once victory over the repetitive old sins you were engaged in … once intentional Christianity is a daily walk … where talk becomes walk … then and only then, ought one to proceed to solid food.”
Lord Jesus, help me to walk before I run and if I have run before walking, forgive me and help me to reorder my spiritual diet so that I can mature to solid food through daily, godly application. Amen.