GOODBYE BABY BOTTLES

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Do you know what flew out of my mouth yesterday as I preached at the assisted living facility where I preach weekly now? It wasn’t pretty, but I’ll tell you anyway. I never do know ahead of time what will come flying out of my mouth, because I study and prepare my heart and pray and turn it all over to the Lord. He surprises me when I preach just as much as anyone else. I don’t preach with a plan, outline, agenda, or notes. I preach yielded to the Lord. And I ain’t preaching no prosperity, feel-good, happily-ever-after, life’s-a-piece-of-cake message. I preach the Truth. And it’s convicting, hard, challenging, in-your-face, in-my-face, and life-changing for anyone willing to deny themselves, take up their crosses, and truly follow Jesus (Matthew 16:24) in action not just in words. So my friends with their wheelchairs and walkers and hearing aids and aches and pains but hungry-for-God’s-Word hearts yesterday were not surprised by what came flying from my mouth. And neither was I.

“What do babies do after they are born?” I said.

“Grow,” someone said.

“How?” I asked.

A few people replied.

“Food. That’s right,” I said. “Milk. And they’re fed.”

Big deal, right? Actually, a very big deal.

“I’ve been preaching for the last few weeks or so about how those of us who are born again, who are saved by confessing Jesus as Lord and believing God raised Him from the dead, who place our faith in Christ who died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins, to endure God’s wrath, who repent and turn away from our sins and turn to the Lord, are supposed to grow, right?”

Yes.

“And we’re not supposed to look like the world, right?” I reminded them. Lots of them have memory issues. I have had one of my own. But this message can’t afford to be forgotten.

“We’re not supposed to grow in the world’s image, right?” I reminded them.

Right, they agreed.

“Whose image are we supposed to grow in? Whose image were we created in?”

“God’s,” some of them replied.

Easy answer, huh? Onward, right? Not so fast.

So now you’re starting to wonder what exactly came flying out of my mouth. Because everything I’ve preached so far isn’t such a big deal, or at least that’s what you think. Now get a hold of this.

“We’re not supposed to look like the world. We should stand out in a crowd. People should see something different about us. We are supposed to look like God, our Father. We were created in His image, not the world’s. But we’ve got a problem.”

The problem?

Simple. And hard. So hard.

“I’ve been preaching to you over the past few weeks about how the Bible talks about food. Milk. And meat. Jesus said He is the bread of life, right? We ask in the Lord’s prayer for daily manna, right? We are supposed to partake of Christ. The Bible is God’s Word. Sure we are supposed to eat physical food to grow. But that is nothing compared with the Lord and His Word.”

I had their rapt attention, those who were still awake anyway. Between after-lunch sleepiness and who knows how many medications and the difficulties of old age, not everyone is always awake when I preach. But somehow I manage to wake some of the sleeping ones up. God’s Word has a way of doing that, doesn’t it? Some of us are sleeping hard and fast through what we need to be hearing. Ahem.

“The Bible talks about how we need to start feeding on meat, and not milk,” I had taught them in previous weeks. “This Bible,” I said as I held it up in my hand to show them. “This is God’s Word. This is how our minds get renewed and our lives get transformed.”

“The trouble is,” I said, “Some of us never got past being born again. We got saved through faith in Christ, and never went further than that. The more I read this Bible, the more I see not everyone who thinks they’re getting into heaven is going to get there. I got stuck after I was saved as a baby. I never moved past being a so-called baby Christian.”

Somewhere around that time, the hard words, the really hard ones, flew from my mouth. Totally unexpected, but totally God.

“How do babies eat?” I said. “They get fed. But what does a 15-year-old kid do? He feeds himself, right? The trouble is lots of people are still being fed. They’re relying on people like me to do the feeding. They’re not feeding themselves with the Word. Just like babies.”

So there it is. One of the many hard parts of what I preached yesterday. And the hard part I am led to preach right here.

Are you relying on others to feed you God’s Word? Is it being spoon fed to you on Sundays, or maybe Wednesdays? Is your life just way too busy every other day of the week, and maybe even on Sundays and Wednesdays, to hear His Word? Do you have higher priorities than God’s Word? Do you have higher priorities than God? Do you know if the person feeding you God’s Word is even speaking the Truth? Do you know countless pastors aren’t even preaching God’s Truth? Do you know how to discern the difference? Do you know enough from your own studies of God’s Word to recognize if the person preaching to you is preaching Truth?

I don’t know about you, but I can tell you I spent far too long crawling around on the ground as a spiritual baby and waiting to be picked up by just about anyone to be set down in my high chair so I could bang my silver spoons around and wave my rattles in the air before I threw my next temper tantrum. I ate up anything that came my way. And it’s no wonder I never moved past being a whining, complaining, moaning, murmuring, hurting, baby.

I have heard just about every excuse from A to Z and back again about why people don’t study the Bible on their own with the Holy Spirit who is promised as our teacher, and I have yet to hear of an excuse including all the ones I had myself that will bear any significance whatsoever when I find myself standing at the Judgment Seat of Christ.

Something tells me asking Jesus to fill my baby bottle just isn’t going to fly.

“And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.” (Luke 4:4 KJV)

“And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?” (1 Corinthians 1-3 KJV)

This Book of the Law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe and do according to all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall deal wisely andhave good success.” (Joshua 1:8 KJV)

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