When I was around 4-years old, I was still walking around the house with a baby bottle hanging from my mouth — held there by my baby teeth that had protruded through tender gums. There wasn’t milk in that bottle, rather my Momma kept it filled with Pepsi Cola! Oh, how I carried that bottle around drinking that sugary soda…it was all I wanted…it kept me and my 4-year old appetite satiated!
As much as I could, I understood that I probably was too old to be walking around with a baby bottle — but it was a comfort and had all of that sweetness inside of it. Why in the world would I want to give up such a delight?? However, one day my Aunt Scarlett came to visit us. I saw her car pull up into the drive-way and she started walking toward our front door. I panicked! Totally, full-on pan…shame! I ran toward the kitchen and hid that bottle in the refrigerator so that my Aunti wouldn’t see it.
Not long after that confrontation with my shame, one morning I walked into the kitchen and asked Momma for my bottle and she announced that there were no more bottles — the rats had eaten them! I do not remember crying over it or throwing a fit. I must have just taken her word that rats had eaten my bottles and they ceased to be. I had finally out grown the baby bottle and was expected to now eat and drink the same things the rest of the family did.
I remembered all of that when I was studying in Hebrews this morning. The writer in Hebrews 5 and down in verses 12 through 14, speaks of the the Body of Christ needing milk again, even though by then they should be teachers.
“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.” Hebrews 5:12-14 (Emphasis mine)
When I read that passage, I felt such overwhelming conviction in my heart. There are many days when I do not feel that I’ve had any recent or sustainable growth while following Jesus. I find myself back in a place when I first came to Christ when I was 15-years old — having trouble discerning God’s Word and applying the wisdom I should have gained by now in my life. Truly, I feel malnourished and lacking the discipline I should have as a disciple of Christ…I’m still sucking on the bottle of milk rather than chewing on the meat and marrow of His Word.
I keep falling into the same ole’ sins — sins that keep me from a deeper fellowship with the Lord. Paul addressed this very thing with the Romans,
“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?” Romans 6:1-2
My heart felt such defeat because I am still stumbling over the same sins that were forgiven and not living in the newness of Christ. Paul said,
“Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” Romans 6:12-14 (Emphasis mine)
…and, as I asked the Lord to forgive me for falling back into the slavery of sin, I realize that I need to drop that bottle I am sucking on and pick up a fork to start eating the meat of His Word.
Milk certainly helped me to grow when I was a babe in Christ, but in order to strengthen my faith and walk, I must suck that rich marrow out of God’s Word that will build me and make me “an instrument of righteousness to God.” I no longer need to be weaned…I am more than ready to masticate on His Word…it’s really the only way to keep me mature in Him, discerning of His precepts, and more able to apply wisdom in my decision making.
BUT, it’s not just about me — nothing is ever just about us alone. When I allow God to feed me that which sustains and strengthens me, I can then be the teacher that Hebrews 5:12 declares I should be. We are not here to live like fat little babies, but we are here to be tools that God can use for His glory…we are to bring others to Christ. We are here to share the Gospel — that Good News — because HE is not willing that any should perish!
“The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9
My encouragement and prayer for you, dear friend, is that you will lay that baby bottle down and pick up your fork and sit down and feast on God’s Word. Learn His precepts…love His law…ask Him to feed you generously at the table of His Word and to forgive you for not supping there, as you should have. He will not despise your contrite heart…in fact, He loves a contrite heart!
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.” Psalms 51:17
One day we will all meet at a Banquet Table set by Holy Hands and fellowship together with Christ at the center. Oh, how I look forward to that day!
“Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he *said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.'” And he *said to me, “These are true words of God.” Revelation 19:7-9
Soli Deo Gloria