For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature…
One of the strong deciding factors I frequently hear people talk about in their decision to leave their church and attend another is the phrase “I just wasn’t being fed.”
And this has become a difficult phrase for me, because Scripture doesn’t refer to the church in those terms. The Bible very clearly affirms being part of a group devoted to following Jesus (church). However, Jesus and the apostles’ teaching on how we get fed would probably surprise many contemporary Christians.
Let’s start with the writer of Hebrews. We quote Hebrews 5:13 and 14 quite frequently to encourage immature believers to move on to the deeper truths of the Bible. We emphasize the elements of these verses that refer to salvation truths as milk and “the deeper truths” as meat.
But these verses have another light to look at them in: Who feeds milk to a baby? Someone else. Who feeds solid food to the mature? Well, sometimes someone else. But usually the person feeding solid food to a mature person is the person himself. In fact, I would argue that while some food can be prepared for a mature person by someone else, if the mature person isn’t feeding himself with the food, there’s probably something wrong!
My point is this: You weren’t designed to be fed by another spiritually. You were designed to have a direct relationship with God where you grow by feeding yourself. You were meant to dig into the Scriptures and find the truth for yourself. You were designed to have a living and alive relationship with the resurrected Jesus that fills your hungry heart.
So what good is a church family? Well a church family is designed to encourage you when the going gets tough. A church family is designed to equip you to be more like Christ. A church family helps you see you blind spots and protects you from self-deception. Most of all, a church family is where you put into practice many of the things you’ve been learning from Christ: patience, service, love, humility, etc.
And that may happen through teaching, it may happen through the use of spiritual gifts, it may happen through a prophetic word. But there is a world of difference between starving yourself all week and gorging yourself on food on Sunday morning, and eating many times a week but still needing a pick me up if you’re tired or discouraged on Sunday.
But don’t give up on the people of God who you’ve committed yourself to because “you’re not getting fed.” Don’t abandon your important post of encouraging others because the teaching isn’t the flavor you’d hoped for. Instead, go find the spiritual food yourself. Share what you have with others in a way that encourages them to find food for themselves. It will change you.
So how do we feed ourselves? Is there a method? How do you go from living on the food others have prepared to finding your own? We’ll look at that some tomorrow.