Whenever I have a nursing infant, this verse takes on new meaning to me:
"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).
Newborns need to nurse every few hours, for about 15-20 minutes at a time. You cannot feed your baby once in the morning for 10 minutes and call it good for the rest of the day. The feedings need to be continuous throughout the day so that the infant is receiving the nourishment she needs. A fed baby is a content baby. A hungry baby is miserable and lets everyone know it through her cries.
Also, babies need to be fed milk. Breastmilk is certainly the purest form, but formula meets the need as well. You cannot put water in a bottle, or tea, or chocolate milk, or any number of "substitutes." To nourish a baby, you must provide pure milk.
And why do babies need to be fed? Not only for meeting current needs for sustenance but also for promoting growth.
So what do I take away from this?
1. Just like a newborn needs frequent feedings throughout the day, we, too, need continuous nourishment in the Word of God. A baby feeds for several minutes at a time. Before a feeding, the baby may get a bit fussy. After the feeding, the baby is happy and peaceful. After our feeding in the Word, we should feel peaceful and content as well. Without this feeding, we may become increasingly miserable, even if our cries are not expressed as vocally as a newborn. (We may make those around us miserable as well).
2. "Long for the pure milk of the word."
How often do we seek to feed ourselves with something other than the "pure milk of the word"? I have no problem taking frequent feedings throughout the day on things other than the word. Every few hours, for a pick-me-up, I'll run over to my laptop and check what's going on in the Internet. I'll seek a dose of encouragement through an inspiring blog, I'll check what friends are up to on Facebook. But do I long to feed myself first with the pure milk of the word? To be honest, after I've "fed" myself in the morning, I think that feeding can last me all day, and I substitute other things for feedings the rest of the day. This is as silly as feeding a newborn a bottle of water and expecting it to meet her needs.
This week, let's challenge ourselves to nourish ourselves with the pure milk of the Word. Let's see if we become more content as we feed our bodies and spirits every few hours what they truly need. This is not meant to be a legalistic "read-your-Bible-every-three-hours-or-else" rule, but rather a principle for our good.
And if you don't know where to start, you could begin with the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke or John) and read about Jesus' life. You could start reading Proverbs for wisdom, or the Psalms for encouragement. Or you could just start at the beginning (Genesis) and work your way through. Or you could read a chapter from the Gospels in the morning, a Proverb a few hours later, a Psalm a few hours later, maybe a letter from Paul after that (Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, etc).
So when you start feeling like you're running low, just like a newborn starts to feel like it's time for another feeding, let's give ourselves a good healthy dose of that pure spiritual milk of the word.