As followers of Christ, we have been called to learn of Him...
Jesus said in:
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest unto your souls. (NKJ)
Jesus is telling us here that we are to learn of Him. He makes no mention of learning of anyone else, and He also goes on to say that when we learn of Him, we will find rest for our souls. Now we know that our soul is our mind, will and emotions, which plays a huge part in our daily lives while we’re on this earth.
The difference between being anxious as opposed to resting in God’s peace is of huge importance to us all. We’d all prefer to be at peace in our souls wouldn’t we?
Our God is so faithful and cares so much for us that He wants us to have rest for our souls, even through the trials and tribulations of life.
1 John 2:6
He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. (NKJ)
Here we see that those who say they abide in Jesus, ought to walk just as He walked.
Meaning, we are to follow His example and walk in His footsteps. Because when our focus goes off ourselves and looking at doing things our own way, and instead looking to Jesus for our answers and giving our will to Him, which means trusting Him entirely, we will find that He will carry us through all our problems.
So the Bible shows us that we are called to follow Jesus and Him alone.
Now that we’ve established that we are called to learn of Jesus, let’s move on to exactly how we can learn of Him.
God is so gracious that He has given us everything we need to live an abundant life. And what we really need to grasp and understand the huge value of, is that the only powerful and important fuel that will sustain us and revitalise us is God’s Word. But if we don’t see the value of it, we won’t read it—and the enemy would love nothing more than to have you preoccupied with anything and everything else, because keeping you away from the Bible is like starving you spiritually.
In John 6:35 Jesus said:
“I am the bread of life: he that comes to me shall never hunger; and he that believes on me shall never thirst.” (NKJ)
As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. (NKJ)
Jesus is clearly saying here that He is food for living! And this is two-fold; both eternally and physically—meaning, He gives eternal life and He gives abundant life while we’re on this earth.
This shows us the significance of feeding off Jesus, and like the disciples and those around Him while he was on earth in the flesh, fed from him physically (like when He performed miracles), as well as feeding from Him spiritually when He preached to the crowds, today, we have His Word, which we know is as good as having Jesus with us in the flesh.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (NKJ)
For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. (NKJ)
So God’s Word became flesh, which of course was Jesus, full of grace and truth.
So we know from what the Scriptures are saying, that Jesus wants us to be learning of Him, through His Word, the Bible!
But how much time should we allocate for reading God’s Word?
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. (NKJ)
Notice the word ‘richly’. When you eat a chocolate cake and it’s full of sugar, making it super sweet, what do we call the cake? Rich. So when something is full of something, it’s rich, right? Well in the same way, when we fill ourselves up by reading the Bible, the Word of Christ will dwell in us richly, which then will result in us being filled with godly wisdom.
The more you put in—the more you get out.
With anything in life, the more you put into it, the more you’ll get out of it. A fitness fanatic will train a set amount of hours every day to not only maintain, but improve their fitness level. Likewise and much more importantly, the more time you devote to learning of your Lord and Saviour by studying the Bible and taking action by applying it, the more its effects will have on you—you begin to see things more clearly; like what really matters in life as you begin to look at everything spiritually instead of fleshly. You will find yourself walking in the spirit more, and walking in the flesh less. This is the direct result/reward from diligently reading and being a doer of the Word.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (NKJ)
How do we ensure we’re not conforming to this world? By renewing our mind.
But what do we renew our minds in? The end of the sentence tells us that when we renew our mind, we may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. The only way this could take place then, is if we’re renewing our mind by reading God’s Word.
Who’s in charge of renewing our mind? Some people have been misled to think that God renews our mind and that we need to ask Him to renew it for us, but this is not Scriptural.
In this verse it says, ‘be transformed by the renewing of your mind’. So what’s this saying? That we are to renew our own mind. It’s like having a bowl of cereal sitting on the table and instead of picking it up and eating it, we ask God to feed it to us, without making any effort ourselves. We don’t want to do the same thing with our Bible. While it’s sitting on your shelf, it’s unable to do its work in you and your mind cannot be renewed—however, when you make the effort to pick it up and read it, this is when the Bible will do its work in your mind, flushing out the worldly junk that you’ve consumed throughout the day and refreshing your mind in the things of God. When we see how necessary it is for us to be doing this on a constant basis, especially in this day and age where there’s sin lurking in every direction, even to the extent of where you don’t even need to leave your home to find it with the help of television and the internet, I can’t emphasise enough how important it is for you to be renewing your mind by reading the Bible!
How often should we renew our mind? Jesus is the bread of life. This is a clear indication that the more we eat of His food, the more spiritual nutrition we will gain. Jesus likened Himself to bread, and we see bread as a food that we eat on a daily basis, so it goes to show that with Jesus being our bread, that we should be partaking of it every day.
and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, (NKJ)
We need to remember to make reading the Bible a top priority in our daily lives.
As followers of Christ, once we have come to know and understand the basic fundamentals of Christianity, how do we then move on from milk to solids? Meaning, from the basics to the more in-depth teachings?
And how do we distinguish between what is merely milk and what is meat/solids?
First of all, let’s look essentially at the difference between milk and solids. We all know that when a baby is born, it doesn’t have the capacity to be able to eat solid food for many reasons, a few being:
1. Its body isn’t capable to take solid food
2. It doesn’t have the know-how or the ability to understand how to swallow chunks of food
3. It has no teeth to be able to bite into the food
Milk, on the other hand, is the ideal substance for a newborn baby because it is a well-textured liquid that the baby can easily consume that has suitable nutrients and tastes great.
So it’s evident that it’s necessary for a newborn baby to be placed on milk as its first nutritional food, in order for it to be nourished and to begin to grow. Milk is the only thing that will satisfy a newborn baby.
We can liken this to our walk with the Lord. When we are first saved, we are only babies in Christ and we need to begin our Christian walk by feeding on milk.
1 Peter 2:2
as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, (NKJ)
Look at how it says ‘pure milk of the word’, this means sticking to learning the truth of the Bible, not being swayed by opinions or man-made doctrines. In doing this, we will grow.
Sadly, what has happened to so many of us is that after we were born-again, we began to be indoctrinated by mixed teachings; some truth and some lies, whereby the milk of the word is not pure...and the lies that have been mixed in begin to overtake and obscure the truth, leading us down wrong paths. And because we were only babes in the Word, we didn’t know any better and were easily influenced, trusting that our church would know better and would be teaching correctly. But praise God He is always with us and if we are willing to listen, the Holy Spirit will guide us back to the whole truth – but we have to choose to allow Him to guide us and this can be a difficult decision, especially if you’re used to accepting beliefs from your respected preacher. It’s a matter of retraining yourself to stop believing everything you hear (no matter who it’s coming from) and starting to be open-hearted to the Holy Spirit as He shows you the full truth in the Word of God. Stop taking their word for it and study the Scriptures for yourself.
So after taking on the pure milk of the Word, what happens when that baby grows to a point when milk just isn’t enough anymore?
After living off milk for the beginning of its life, there comes a time when the baby will become dissatisfied with having milk as its only source of food. Why is this? Because at the stage the baby’s now at, in order for it to grow more, it requires food that is more substantial—food that has different nutrients and can be chewed on. Also, a baby is weak, ignorant and immature, unable to take care of itself. And it’s exactly the same with a baby Christian.
After we’re saved and we’ve fed on the milk of the Word and grown, we come to a point where the milk isn’t satisfying us spiritually anymore. But this is where the deception comes in. We may be enjoying the milk and feel quite content to simply stay on milk, not wanting to move on to solids, however, the problem with this is that if we don’t move on to solid food, our growth in the Lord ends up being stunted. This is something that happened to some believers in the Bible.
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first 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 unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. (NKJ)
Wow. This is a very powerful statement. We can see that these people should have been further in their walk with the Lord than they were, and that they even needed to be taught the basics again, something they already should’ve had a good grasp on.
Where it says, ‘you have come to need milk and not solid food’ shows that these people were content to stay on milk, they only came to be fed the basics and nothing more. Although they were satisfied to stay on these basic teachings of God’s Word, the problem is that they were ill-equipped to face anything that came their way and were always in need of a mature Christian to help them through. They were unprepared and spiritually stunted.
It even goes on to say that ‘everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness’. We don’t want to be like these people who chose not to move on from the milk to the meat, where to their own detriment, it became a stumbling block in their learning more of God.
We see a similar example of this in:
1 Corinthians 3:1-4
And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not carnal? (NKJ)
We can see from this Scripture that to be a babe in Christ is the equivalent of being carnal, meaning, the focus is more self-centred. But when we grow in Jesus, the focus turns to being Christ-centred. And in verse 4 we see that Paul is trying to explain to the people that they’re placing too much importance on man, seeing the preacher as a higher entity than God. This is also a dangerous area to be in because it distorts the believers’ views and they begin to take on the beliefs of that person, even when it may be in opposition to God’s Word. And once they have taken on a wrong doctrine, it’s hard to get them to change their mind. They don’t want to hear correction. The problem with this is that this wrong understanding is actually damaging that person.
And we know that none of us are perfect, right? We all make mistakes—so if we see a preacher who is deemed as highly respected, well-known and loved by many, and begin to admire him or her to the point of believing that everything they say is of God—without lining it up with the Word of God, then this is dangerous grounds where man-made doctrines are formed.
While we’re being carnally-minded, we’re unable to receive the solid food. And notice that these carnal people were miserable. They were envious of each other, having issues with one another and experiencing strife in their lives. So staying on the road of milk when it’s time to turn to meat will do no good for you, in fact, it leads to problems.
2 Peter 3:15-16
...consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, 16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures. (NKJ)
A baby is ignorant, and being ignorant as a babe in Christ can cause people to be led astray for a season, because a baby has difficulty in discerning the difference between good solid teaching (which is the truth of the Word) and bad teaching (which is wrongly dividing and misconstruing the Word).
We need to have a solid foundation so our beliefs are set firm in the Bible, and knowing the truth of what it teaches.
Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock. (NKJ)
1 Corinthians 3:11
For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. (NKJ)
We have a sure foundation when we are anchored in the rock, and there is only one sure foundation, that is Jesus Christ! And for this reason, we need to keep our anchor deep in this rock so we’re not swayed to and fro, and the only way to do that is by learning more of Him.
What are some ways to stay on this firm foundation of Jesus?
Paul continued on and said in:
1 Corinthians 3:5-7
Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. (NKJ)
So he’s telling the people not to look to him or Apollos as anything spectacular, not to put them on a pedestal because they are just mere men like you and I. They are simply tools that are being used of God. Paul is training them to direct their eyes the right way, showing them that they should always be looking to Jesus -- the one who is powerful and almighty.
So when we move to solid food, what does it do for us spiritually?
But solid food belongs to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (NKJ)
This is stating that when you move from milk to meat, you will become more mature in God, your rock for life! And as we eat substantial food, which is to learn and grow deeper in the things of God, we will be well-equipped to be able to discern what is good, and what is evil.
This is of vital importance for us to know, especially as we are now living in the end days where we are seeing the world is saying that what’s right is now called wrong, and what’s wrong is now called right. So we need to have our feet planted steadfast in God’s Word so we aren’t deceived or swayed from the truth.
Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection... (NKJ)
So what’s this Scripture saying? It’s telling us that we are supposed to move on from milk, leaving the basic principles of Christ, which is the simple teachings, and moving on to learning more of Him on a deeper level so that you can grow in Him, which leads you to becoming more like Him.
2 Peter 3:18
...grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (NKJ)
God doesn’t want us to be spiritually vulnerable and weak like a newborn, He has given us His Word so we can grow in Him and mature into strong Christian men and women, able to stand firm in Him no matter what comes our way, because we know God well—and when we have the right opinion of God and who He is, we are then able to trust Him completely and allow Him to direct our path.
So we can see the need for us to grow and mature in Jesus.
Every part of the Bible is essential to our lives, so we can’t pick and choose certain sections that we want to read, but then leave out or skip other parts because we don’t get as much joy from them. The Bible in its entirety is God-breathed. Not just particular pages. So the first step in moving from milk to solids is to understand that God has intended for us to read the whole Word, even the parts we may not quite understand. Because even though those parts may seem chewy and hard to digest, once they enter in, they have been absorbed into your spirit, and when they’re there, God will use it in His timing. He will bring it out in one way or another, usually in a way totally unexpected, but it will be useful to you in your own walk with the Lord, and most likely help someone else as well.
As we begin to learn more of Him, the Holy Spirit within us stirs up a hunger to want to know more, which is a great motivation in your spirit to have a feeding frenzy on the things of God.
In light of what we have learnt today, God has given us everything we need to be as close to Him as we desire. And He’s also given us the ability to choose how close we want to be with Him—we can stay at a distance, suckling on basic teachings, never really learning anymore than we already know, staying on milk, which keeps us as spiritual infants—or, we can get closer to the Lord by getting into the Word more, renewing our mind daily, listening to strong biblical preaching of the whole Bible and growing in God, which will bring us into spiritual maturity and as a result, will bring our will in line with God’s will, releasing us to live the life God has planned for us. It’s then that we will see that the more we focus on Jesus and learn of Him, that our life will be blessing after blessing -- an overflow of outpouring that God promises His people.
So after the Scriptures we’ve seen today, we can comfortably establish this statement as true:
Milk keeps us in the flesh – meat keeps us in the spirit!
And the aim of the believer is to be a follower of Christ, which is to keep in step with not the flesh, but the spirit!
So moving to solid food enables you to have a solid foundation in Jesus!
Thank You Lord, for bringing this timely message to us this morning, where we can see clearly from Your Word that You want us to grow in You by reading our Bibles and listening to good, solid teachings. I pray that every person who hears this message will open their heart to receive the truth and will have a yearning and a hunger of wanting to learn more of You. That they will no longer be satisfied to stay on milk, but will move forward in their walk with You, Lord, letting go of the things of this world, and holding fast to Your Word, growing closer to You every day. In Jesus’ name, amen.
-- By Jenny Ayling