Moving on to solid food
December 15, 2015 | by: Jason Shiels | 0 Comments
"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." 1 Corinthians 3v1-2
We need 'ears to hear' what the Holy Spirit is saying to us as a church. On a recent day of prayer and fasting at Liberty there was a strong sense of leading that God is challenging us as His people to progress forward towards maturity, from milk onto solid food, as the above passage exhorts.
There is nothing politically correct about the Apostle Paul's admonishment here. Having preached the gospel to them and having no doubt helped to birth many of them into salvation in Christ, Paul here laments the fact that they were still not ready to move on into maturity. They were still not ready to receive the 'food' that would help them to grow and develop in the faith beyond infanthood. Paul does not mince his words. His hope was that such honesty would help to correct the stunted progression of the Corinthians and to help bring them forward in maturity.
The writer to the Hebrews says,
"Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God" Hebrews 6v1
We all need milk as infants. Its what nourishes babies and infants. However there comes a time of TRANSITION, which can differ from one child to the next, when solid food needs to be introduced, along with milk, into the diet. Eventually when the transition is complete the child is weened from breast milk and onto solids. There is something abhorrent and unnatural about seeing a much older child still on breast milk years after the time. Paul here is addressing the Corinthians in a similar manner. He is frustrated with them that they refuse to transition from the 'breast' to the 'plate'! It is still a matter of frustration in our day when God's people refuse the 'meat' of His Word in favour of more milk. The first place we need to look at is ourselves.
Now I know that people can get offended at such analogies, but I don't care. Its the Word of God. We have a choice as believers whether we engage with God's dealings and transitional dynamics in our lives, or not. It's that simple. A gospel centred church will increasingly mean a church transitioning from self-preoccupation to a life of cross-filtered service where faith operates through love.
In our passage above Paul goes on to complain about the fact that there were divisions and camps amongst the church where Christ was not the heart-beat of many of their number. The truth is that the same problem still exists in our day. Many card-carrying Christians allow jealousies, petty issues and camps to develop in their hearts, and then expect God to bless it. Paul describes them as 'people of the flesh' rather than 'spiritual'. A spiritual people are a people who allow God's solid food to nurture them from nappies towards spiritual 'adulthood'.
Milk orientated believers put themselves and their own agendas first. The heart of the Christian message is the gospel and the heart of the gospel is death and life. The transition every believer must undertake at some point is to be weened off self, and to learn to 'eat' a new diet which is actually a totally natural progression, where we die to self and live in the new way of the Spirit.
When we begin to allow this transition to happen our appetites change.
We start to become a bit less demanding of our own way and more prepared to live for God and His way. The Holy Spirit works a deep work in our lives and we develop new appetites. To go back on milk alone becomes ridiculous and unfulfilling. We need fresh challenges, and look for ways to glorify God rather than just please ourselves.
When this is translated into corporate living - as local churches - then this is the point at which we can really begin to make an impact, and see a radiant Bride emerge from the shadows. I will explore this thought more fully in a later blog.
Are you a believer in Christ?
Would you say that you are transitioning toward maturity? If so, in what ways more so than others? Are you happy to remain on 'milk' in some ways? And if so, how can this continue to be justified in light of so great a God and so great a salvation? It can't.
May the church of Jesus Christ in our nation arise as the fragrance of Christ, not the nauseating smell of self.