My adorable granddaughter, Fern, is gaining height and weight, making interesting sounds, discovering that her hands can move objects to her mouth, and in general filling my heart with overwhelming joy. On a couple of occasions Fern and I have delved into deep conversation. She’s a patient listener, and her soft cooing sounds make my heart flip-flop. I realize her noises might be her way of saying, “Grandpa, you already told me that one,” but I love the interaction.
I’ve noticed, though, there are times when Fern is not happy. Grandpa sings every song he knows and rocks her just so, but nothing helps. The screams only grow louder. Grandpa passes the agitated child to Gramma, but even Gramma’s magical presence does not soothe.
Fern wants milk. More milk. Now! At her stage of life she has no concept of the universe or the needs of others. She only knows of her personal need for immediate nourishment.
Fern does not want Grandpa’s funny faces. Toys that rattle, jingle, or crackle are of no interest. Her appetite is singular. Through her limited movements she attempts to latch onto anything in her search for milk. The edge of the blanket might mute the screams for a few seconds before Fern realizes she has been fooled into accepting something that will not satisfy.
What a peaceful moment when baby and Mom finally connect. My thoughts run to this verse:
like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation
1 Peter 2:2 NASB
For the follower of Jesus there can be no spiritual growth apart from the milk of God’s Word. No shortcuts. No workarounds. No apps that bypass the hard work of studying. We have to develop:
A Personal Appetite – The world is full of distractions, gadgets and trinkets that seem important. How much time have I invested playing Angry Birds, Candy Crush or whatever the latest gaming app might be? How many evenings consumed with endless Netflix sessions? The harmless pastimes can override my appetite for the life-giving Word. When I binge on junk food I find the taste of the good stuff no longer appeals. My unhealthy eating habits have created a new and demanding set of appetites.
A Personal Attitude – The desire to study and devour God’s Word comes from within. Certainly motivational speakers and authors can whet my interest, but my personal drive will be the force that pushes me out of the bed to my desk in the wee hours. What value do I ascribe to that appointment? Do I guard the time? Am I determined to practice the behavior until I develop a habit? Ever watch the example of an athlete training and pushing toward a goal? That’s the attitude I need toward Bible study.
A Personal Action Plan – With no watch, no ability to read a clock and no concept of day or night Fern eats on a consistent schedule (with Mom’s help, of course). And that little bundle of joy is quite capable of announcing to the room, “It is dinner time!” If you and I make Bible study a casual affair left to whatever spare moments we can find in the schedule we won’t get the required nutrients. Our spiritual growth will stifle and likely cease. We need a definitive and purposeful plan.
Dr. Howard Hendricks once stated that the goal in Bible study is not information. It’s transformation. We are on a journey to grow more like Christ, and that only happens as we dine regularly on the food He provided.
How’s your appetite for God’s Word these days? Are you eating enough? Does your inner alarm sound when it’s time for the next meal?
Milk is powerful stuff.