George Bowers is a member of the CBC Executive Committee and writes a weekly devotional column for his local newspaper. We have decided to publish one of these each month for those who follow CBC to offer some spiritual encouragement. This is the first one.
What’s For Dinner?
With the arrival of warmer days and longer evenings, the delicious smells of grilling have begun to waft over the valley. I welcome these aromatic reminders of spring and rejoice in the palate-pleasing fare they foreshadow. Bring on the steaks!
Other than vegans and vegetarians, few there are who don’t enjoy a good sirloin. Pair it with a baked potato smothered in sour cream, an obligatory helping of green beans and serve with a tall glass of sweet tea, and you have a meal fit for royalty!
Imagine fixing such a feast for your guests only to have them decline when they arrive and ask for milk instead. “No thanks. We prefer skim with a generous dose of chocolate.” While you might be delighted at the prospects of more leftovers for you, there would certainly be some surprise and probably some resentment that they weren’t interested in your delectable meal.
This scenario illustrates some scriptures that mention milk and meat. In I Peter 2:2-3, we are given this instruction, “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.” Peter is encouraging new believers to dig into God’s Word that the truths within might nourish them for rapid growth.
The milk he mentions certainly refers to the pure gospel of Jesus’ atoning death, burial, and bodily resurrection, all according to previous Biblical prophecies. This milk is fortified with the full truth of God’s great love and of our need to repent of our sins.
Unfortunately, many times we prefer a skim gospel. Since we don’t like to be reminded of our sins and our eventual accountability if we reject God, we conveniently omit those parts of Scripture. Our sensibilities might be offended by blood and sacrifice so those too are scrubbed not only from our reading and preaching, but from our songs as well. Many people are spiritually lactose intolerant resisting God’s truth altogether and preferring some imitation almond drink that really isn’t milk at all.
Certainly any of our favorite sins are filtered out as well as those of our loved ones. What remains is not pure spiritual milk, but something much more like the fat free variety. In addition, we may go well beyond removing the parts we don’t like and adding falsehoods that we do. We think that the spiritual milk will taste better if we dump a gallon of chocolate into it. And while it may please our tongues, it won’t provide for the nutritional needs of infants and even leads to unhealthy results.
The author of Hebrews also speaks to our spiritual diets and encourages us to mature in our faith and move from milk to meat. Hebrews 5:12-14 tells us, “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.”
While milk is ideal for newborns, steaks and potatoes are much more nutritious and satisfying for adults. Those who have accepted Jesus and been in His Church for years should be enjoying a rich diet of meat, vegetables, and even dessert that not only please our spiritual palates, but provide rich nourishment to our souls. While not forgetting the elementary milky truths, we should grow beyond them to a full spectrum of Biblical teaching.
As the grills fire up this spring and as we enjoy our thick juicy steaks, may they remind us of our need to go deeper into God’s Word and be nourished by it. And let’s not water it down or try to flavor it to our liking. Enjoying my sirloins, George