Hebrews 5:12-14 NASB
"1.And I, brothers and sisters, could not speak to you as spiritual people, but only as fleshly, as to infants in Christ. 2.I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to consume it. But even now you are not yet able, 3.for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like ordinary people?"
I Corinthians 3:1-3 NASB
The above are two passages that I feel that we gloss over as Believers. It is easy to dismiss something as not pertaining to us, or to equate it as something that was antiquated or directed to a different audience. However, I believe in taking the Bible into context as a whole. For example, we know in the Corinthians passage, the Apostle Paul was directly speaking to the church in Corinth about there lack of growth, and allowing themselves to act like the pagans around them.
What is the difference between Milk vs. Meat? When we are babies, we do not chow down on a 16 oz. ribeye, as we do not have the teeth or ability to digest this meat, as it has to be broken down by chewing. Babies are not born with a mouth full of teeth, but rather through growth and time, they have these teeth pop through their gums (hence the painful process known as "teething"). Anybody that is a parent knows that this process is not only painful for the child, but for the parent. It is a time of growth that is essential in order for that baby to be weaned off of the milk, and to eventually start eating more solid food. I iterate solid food, as you do not immediately wake up one day and tell junior that there is no more milk for him, but rather that the ribeye is the only thing that he/she gets. No, there is still a gradual process that takes place with soft food regarding texture and consistency. Maybe it is pureed carrots or applesauce, but it is a gradual weaning process from the dependency of only liquid. Note that I said "only" liquid, as we still wash down our food as adults with liquid. The Hebrews passage above addresses needing ONLY milk, and that this person is unacquainted with the word of righteousness.
Sanctification is the process of Christ gradually and progressively perfecting His work inside us, in order to make us more into His image. For example, I am less in love with the things of this world today, then I was 5, 10, 15 years ago. This is sanctification. This can only be done by the Holy Spirit. As Titus says in Titus 3:5 "He saved us, not by works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit."
So why do you think that there are so many people stuck just drinking milk? Who is the audience that is being addressed in this Hebrews and Corinthians passage? He is addressing those in the church that call themselves believers. Paul's address to the church of Corinth was not simply saying "Oh well, you will get there eventually." NO! It was a rebuke against their complacency, and lack of willingness to grow. As I stated previously, it is the Holy Spirits work to Regenerate and Sanctify us. Does that merely mean that I need to just sit back and not doing anything myself. Again...NO! All through the New Testament we see that "Faith without works is dead." James 1:22 also tells us to be "Doers of the Word, and not hearers only." We know that there is an action plan that has to be implemented by us. The main action is yielding to his Holy Spirit in our lives, but it doesn't stop there.
I am all about Life Application, so here it goes! How do I apply this message to my life, and the caution laid out in Hebrews and I Corinthians? One way that I have done this, is by setting aside some time during my day to read the Bible, and Pray. As you grow in your relationship with the Lord, you will soon realize that the one minute Bible passages that are so popular in being emailed out to people, are not enough to sustain you. I realized early on that just reading these on my computer was not sustaining me, and that I was hungry for so much more. I also realized that just reading a nice fancy devotional was not a replacement to reading His Word. Don't get me wrong, I read a devotional every day, but it is NOT a replacement to reading scripture. It is worth noting that just reading and knowing scripture without applying it to our lives, will get you Pharisaical knowledge, but not growth in Christ!
So if we look back in scripture, God the father in the Old Testament, and Jesus in the New, instructs us to lead Holy lives. Holiness means set-apart for Him. If we are to be set apart, than that means that we can't participate in the same things that the world is participating in. It means that we look different, talk different, and act different. Why do you think that people say the divorce rate of 50% is the same inside the church as it is outside? Quite simply because the modern day American church is not set aside and apart from the pagans of the world. I am not promoting sequestering yourself or your family from this world. We are in this world, but not of it. I am suggesting that we not succumb to the temptations of this world that so easily ensnare.
In conclusion, to point us back to Hebrews 5:13, "For everyone who partakes only of milk is unacquainted with the word of righteousness, for he is an infant." I do not want to be a spiritual infant, so I cry out to God daily for Him to mature me, and remove anything out of my life that is not becoming of Him. Are you pursuing after righteousness? God's call is the same for each of us. He does not call some to live a life of shallowness, and others vast depth. He calls each of us to a deeper walk with Him. Enough making excuses about not being fed at one church or the other. Become a self-feeder that gets up every day with determination to fulfill God's call for your life of a deeper walk with Him. Will you grow alongside me, or allow me to come alongside of you and grow? If we are not growing, then we are not being Sanctified. Hebrews says that the only way we are going to know good from evil, is to have our senses trained, which comes from practice in being on solid food.