Daily Readings: Numbers 25-26, 1 Corinthians 3
Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans?
1 Corinthians 3:1-3
This is such a perfect analogy for our spiritual journey as Christians. There are times in our journey when we need nothing more than milk in terms of our spiritual development. Until we have come to fully internalize the truth that Jesus chose to come to earth in fully human form, paid a price for us that we were unable to ever pay on our own by giving up his life willingly, and that we have the ability to welcome Christ into our lives to dwell within us and guide us through our time here on earth; spending time reading about his will for our life carries so much less weight.
If you give an infant solid food, it will wreak havoc on the poor baby’s digestive system. If you attempt to help a non-believer see how they might potentially be out of step with the life God had planned for them before they have even come to know and accept Jesus, it wreaks havoc as well.
This is the fundamental problem with street corner evangelism where you simply shout that people are going to hell and holding up signs about certain sin issues, declaring why people are not living the way God intended.
On a more normal level, it is also the problem with the judgmental brand of Christianity that exists in the marketplace today amongst some believers who really do want to be marketplace missionaries, but have a tendency to turn people away more than draw them in. If you lead with telling people why they are not living in accordance with God’s design, you are shoving meat down the throat of an infant.
Paul encourages us to first come with milk.
For folks who have no relationship with Christ, we must first introduce them to amazing, unearned, unconditional grace. We must share with them the incredible truth of a God who loves us in all of our messiness. We need to share the gospel message.
There are times where God certainly uses us to confront people in our lives who have professed faith in Christ, but may not be living it out. I am thankful he has used others in my life in this way from time to time when needed!
However, before they believe, we are called to lead with love, patience, and the same grace that God showed us.
During his time on earth Jesus was extremely tough in his language when it came to people who already believed in God and said they wanted to serve him faithfully. He was not shy in calling out hypocrites!
However, he came with nothing but grace, forgiveness, and acceptance for those who did not yet know him. He came with patience and love.
He came with milk.
Thought to ponder
Who are individuals or groups of people in my life where I tend to lead with meat instead of milk? Do I need additional milk myself in my walk with Christ and have I sought that out recently?