Picture a baby craving milk, instinctively crying for what he needs. When he receives the milk, the cry is reduced to a whimper to a sound of sucking indicating he is well on his way to being satisfied and consequently, growing physically. The Apostle Peter used this illustration in writing to believers facing persecution. “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation (1 Peter 2:2).
Spiritual milk is a metaphor for the Word of God. The nourishment the believer receives when he engages the Word produces a growing faith. He increases in the knowledge of the Word, he gains a greater understanding of the Word, and his commitment grows stronger to live according to the Word. This maturing process is ongoing and induced by the powerful work of the Holy Spirit. Peter would make it clear in his second letter that maturing as a believer is a command, for the glory of God is at stake (2 Peter 3:18).
There are contrasts in Scripture between those who are maturing and those who are still in the infancy stage of their spiritual walk. Immature believers are addressed in Hebrews 5:11-14. The writer rebukes them for their lack of maturity using a figure of speech involving milk and solid food. Spiritual maturity is often seen by an intense desire for the Word as well as a delight in it. King David gave evidence of this when he wrote Psalm 119 including these words:
“Deal bountifully, with Your servant,
That I may live and keep Your word.
Open my eyes, that I may behold
Wonderful things from Your law” (17-18)
Increasingly, the all-sufficiency of the Word and its relevancy in today’s culture are alarmingly dismissed, even in the church. Why is this happening? Perhaps believers do not long for the pure spiritual milk. It is time for believers to long for the Word.
Lord, please forgive believers when they do not long for Your Word. Lead them to repentance for Your glory is at stake. May those who are maturing be ever increasing in the knowledge of Your Word, the understanding of Your Word, and live according to Your Word. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Yes to God’s Word,