As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby. (1 Peter 2:2)
A New Baby
March will be an exciting month for the Heaton family. Our eighth grandchild is to be born and she is to be called Leila. This sounds like a shameless message about our grandchildren (and it is) and how young we are to have this many grandchildren but Leila has been growing in her mommies womb for nearly nine months. Soon she will discover America and begin a life with wonderful parents who will nurture her and help her grow into a beautiful Christian woman. But this does not happen on its own: physically or spiritually. It will take many sleepless nights (her father has no idea), preparing the right kinds of nutrition, examinations, exercise and personal care. Leila will learn early about God and Jesus Christ growing up with the songs of praise, words of the Bible, and images of worship in her mind. She will be taught how to walk, how to speak and how to learn the A-B-C’s. Her life will be a constant process of learning all the things that will help her grow into a mature and godly woman.
As a newborn baby, Leila will not be eating T-bone steaks. Little babies begin with milk and gradually move into solid food before venturing into the world of other types of food. Peter uses the image of newborn babies (probably from his own experience with his children) watching them grow from milk to maturity. Newborns desire the milk to give them nurturing. Spiritually, all Christians begin as newborn babies that must begin with the gentle formula of the word of God. Like a newborn child, Christian’s should have a hungering desire to know as much about God as they can and finding the many opportunities to learn from the word of God. There is a reality found among young newborns such as disease and sickness. Times will come when a cold or virus will bring sickness. Greater maladies may confront the newborn that can threaten their lives. Sickness comes upon a new Christian also. Satan is trying very hard to dissuade and discourage newborn children of God. If a child becomes sick, parents will rush the child to the doctor. Long nights will be spent in caring for the sick child. This same kind of care and diligence must be spent with newborn babes in Christ.
Infancy is a challenging time for newborns. They are dependent on others for their safety and growth. The mature child of God must do everything possible to help the young Christian grow with the pure milk of the word. They need encouragement and prayer. A symptom of sickness is when the newborn Christian forsakes the worship of the Lord. They may become involved with activities that are not helping them grow in Christ. Lack of Bible study and fellowship with other Christians can be a sign of spiritual sickness. Growing as newborn babies is to desire the knowledge of Jesus Christ to strengthen their bodies against the onslaught of Satan seeking to destroy them. As a parent, we will do everything we can to protect our children. Spiritually we must do all we can to protect the newborn babes in Christ from the wiles of the devil.
Growth continues throughout the life of a child of God. We all begin with the milk of the word and mature into the solid spiritual food of the Lord. It is a process that takes us from the feeble dependence as a baby to the growing, maturing child of God who is able to handle aright the deeper meanings of God’s word. The hunger should never leave. Desiring the pure milk of the word must always be a part of our lives. Growth for the child of God never stops. As we grow, let us not forget to help the newborn babies who need our encouragement to grow in Christ. Do not let Satan pull them back into the world. What a beautiful day to witness the birth of a new life. Watching children grow to maturity is a wonderful time. There is rejoicing in Heaven when a newborn is born into Christ. We must do all we can to rejoice with them and encourage them in their new life as a child of God as they grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Faith seeps out as knowledge seeps down. (John Haynes Holmes, Religion Today, ed. A. L. Swift, 1933)