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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...




Crave Milk

By S. Robert Maddox
May 26, 2013

I grew up in Seattle drinking lots of milk. A milkman delivered his products to our back porch twice a week, straight from a dairy farm. My mother believed we should drink raw milk. It was thick and creamy, and I loved it!

The beverage was served at every meal. Milk and brown sugar were generously applied to hot oatmeal every morning for breakfast. Milk was purchased at school for lunch. Milk was the sole beverage during the evening supper. Milk was such an important part of the diet it was preferred over soda. My consumption of milk is considerably less today, but I occasionally enjoy a good tall glass.

My father also loved milk. Although not a pleasant thought to me, when he was older he preferred buttermilk.

Peter addressed the need for milk on a spiritual level:

“Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good” (1 Peter 2:2,3, NIV).

The writer of Hebrews chastised those who didn’t do this: “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! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity” (Hebrews 5:12-6:1).

Milk is needed in every level of spiritual development: babe, child, teenager, young adult, middle-aged and fully mature. May you never get a mindset that the milk of God’s Word will not be refreshing! Peter stated: “Crave pure spiritual milk.”

How does this apply to the statement from Hebrews? That writer seems to indicate believers should not be milk drinkers. That’s not the intended meaning at all. There is no conflict between 1 Peter and Hebrews. As mature followers of Jesus, we are to seek out spiritual milk while remembering that it is only part of a full spiritual diet.

Bible truths can be very in-depth; some refer to them as “meaty.” You need the milk of God’s Word to swallow and digest the meat. Have you ever tried to chew and swallow food with a dry mouth? It is difficult. You need drink also.

Here are some reasons for loving the milk of God’s Word.


Milk reminds you that you are God’s child.

When your faith wavers, go to Scripture with a cup rather than a knife and fork. The simplicity of biblical truth gives the believer more courage. The story of faith, believed with childlike confidence, increases courage in the human heart. Simple faith brought you into a relationship with God, and simple truth develops greater faith. “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17).

Sometimes God’s Word should be read for substance, but at other times for simplicity. Assurance comes by the simple hearing of God’s Word. The practice of simply hearing the Word causes people to realize they are simply children of God.


Milk reminds you that you are still weak.

Though people may know God’s Word and consider themselves mature, there is risk of unduly exalting self and thinking oneself invincible. Society has become filled with self-importance. Self is now elevated over everything and is the national idol. When you see yourself as big, you make God small.

The milk of God’s Word, the simplicity of His story, reveals that strength is found solely in the lordship of Jesus. His Word states, as a matter of fact, you are too weak to overcome sin. His Word reveals you do not personally handle temptation very well. His Word reminds you, no matter how much you know, your relationship with God is what helps you to stand.


Milk reminds you that you should grow.

My wife is the oldest of six children. A 12-year age difference exists between her and her youngest brother. She had a lot of responsibility in his upbringing while her mother worked to provide for the family.

The boy did not like the taste of milk and refused to drink it. He would sometimes complain about his “bones hurting.” By not getting enough calcium, his physical frame would ache. As a substitute for milk, he started taking calcium supplements.

The milk of God’s Word develops in you grace and love, the framework of salvation. Milk is not a replacement for meat but is an important part of good health. Scriptural milk is the foundation, able to support reliable spiritual pillars of truth.

The simplicity of God’s Word advances your spiritual transformation in a healthy manner. Remaining an immature believer, a spiritual baby, is unhealthy. Life develops normally with a properly balanced diet. As spiritual transformation increases, spiritual meat must be added to spiritual milk. Milk, however, is always a part of the diet.


Milk becomes a source of encouragement.

Being around others just beginning their relationship with God is enjoyable. Seeing them grasp the same truth you discovered when first putting your faith in Him is encouraging. The enthusiasm they express with each newfound truth is exciting. When God’s Word becomes confirmed in their lives, their exhilaration is contagious.

Hearing the milk of God’s Word from the lips of a new believer reminds you where you were and helps you appreciate what the Lord has done in your life since making Him Lord.


Spiritual milk helps put biblical meat into a wholesome perspective.

Knowing the basics helps you comprehend the complex. My college degree in religion and philosophy was great preparation for ministry. Early in church administration, however, I discovered the need to acquire more knowledge of corporate management principles. With unused GI Bill funds still available to me, I pursued a degree in accounting and business.

Basic accounting seemed easy. With each additional course, the subject became more complex. The next level of required courses was based on things learned in earlier courses. Being able to handle intermediate and advanced accounting was made possible with basic accounting. Adding income tax and business law courses to financial management increased the complexity.

If infants are given meat before milk, they choke on the food. Spiritual meat before spiritual milk distorts a person’s understanding. Spiritual meat before spiritual milk leads to biblical error. Spiritual meat before spiritual milk is like building a house without a foundation. Spiritual meat before spiritual milk is a ship without a rudder, traveling aimlessly.

Regardless how many years a person has followed Jesus, everybody needs the milk of God’s Word. Always value the simple truths of the Bible and develop a greater reliance on the Lord. Maintain a healthy diet that includes both the milk and meat of Scripture.


S. ROBERT MADDOX is an author and speaker, ordained with the Assemblies of God. He lives in Ozark, Mo., and blogs at bob-maddox.blogspot.com.

 

 

 

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