Thursday, April 03, 2008

Are we satisfied with the 'milk' of the Word or are we longing for the 'meat' of the Word?

Here's an excerpt of R.C. Sproul discussing obstacles to spiritual nourishment--feeding on 'milk', rather than on the 'meat' of the Word:

"One of the questions we must ask ourselves today is this: In a nation full of seriously underfed believers, how do we help people identify and overcome the obstacles—both cultural and personal—that close them off from spiritual nourishment?

I’m sure that you, like me, can easily think of several cultural obstacles. Among them are doubts about the usefulness of doctrine, which lead to churches with shallow beliefs. There is also a loss of confidence in scholarly professors in colleges and seminaries—a fear that deeper training in the faith will produce intellectual skeptics.

These are valid concerns. But I believe I can explain one of the most serious personal obstacles by way of an illustration. Like millions of other people, I took piano lessons when I was a child. I still remember my first lesson from the classic Thompson books. I played with the index finger of my right hand, then changed to the left. It was simple stuff.

I doubt that many people dropped out after the first lesson because it was too difficult. But very few of them ever became accomplished pianists. Why? Because once you get past the elementary level, you begin using two hands, playing chords, and changing tempos. At this point a lot of people quit taking piano because they don’t want to exercise the discipline necessary to get beyond little one-finger tunes.

That’s what happens to many Christians. They become satisfied with the “milk” of the Word, despite the fact that we are called to go beyond the ABC’s of the faith to maturity in Christ. The apostle Paul addressed this mentality when he wrote to the church at Corinth: “But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh” (1 Cor 3:1–3).

Paul’s epistles, as well as the whole of Scripture, were written to be “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Tim 3:16) to make us complete. Paul rebuked the Corinthians for being satisfied with milk rather than with meat, because they had been Christians long enough to grow and become more mature.

More than two thousand years later, we again face a dire need for solid teaching of the Word...because it is when God’s people are deeply grounded in the Word that they stand fast against the trials and temptations in this world..."


ellen b. said...

hi Connie,
I finally am using google reader so I know when people post. Very helpful for me. Ha! I take people off my blogroll when they say they are taking a break. I thought you were on break but I see you are posting :) Now with my google reader I won't miss anything. Blessings. speaking about milk...I have a Russian pat-a-cake rhyme on my blog today that I wonder if your girls ever heard...
Then speaking about meat our pastor said an interesting thing that I never considered before about chewing meat and that is that we have to get the meat from our own study of the word not someone else's study like we get from sermons. We need to take what we hear and then study it on our own for it to become meat for us. Even if we're listening to the best teachers out there we need to make it our own. I hope I communicated that right...

Connie said...

ellen b: I love using a 'reader', it's the ONLY way I can keep up with the various sites I enjoy!

I'll check the Russian pat-cake- rhyme and ask my girls. In Olga's Russian lang. class recently they discussed Russian tongue twisters. My husband asked her if "hello" in Russian counts because it certainly makes most English tongues twist!!

Appreciated your thoughts on the 'milk' of the Word--meat requires chewing and that's what we all need to be doing on a regular basis!

Kristine said...

I'm in complete agreement with Sproul; the issue of underfed Christians has very serious consequences. In my opinion, Spiritual immaturity is the root of so many destructive problems within the local church; I know it's the root of the heartbreaking problems within my own right now *sigh*

We don't expect children to take on adult problems, for good reason. It would be a disaster; we have too many churches in America to prove it.