|Posted on September 27, 2018 at 10:15 AM|
Trusting what God believes about us is the key to living the abundant life Jesus promised his followers. We start our new lives as Christians believing our sins are forgiven by what Jesus did for us on the cross and trusting that he rose again from the tomb as evidence of our salvation. But trusting what Jesus did historically to deal with our sins and trusting what God believes about us now are two different issues. Although they are certainly related they are not the same. “Baby Christians” may experience God’s forgiveness with a sense of relief and joy but get confused when considering what God believes about them now. Add to that the natural tendency to please God by religious performance based on our own knowledge of good and evil and that initial confusion can intensify to a sense of desperation and discouragement.
To avoid such discouragement the apostle Peter writes, “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye might grow thereby” (1Peter 2: 2). Our new life is developmental as well as eternal. That is, believers must grow up spiritually just like we did physically. Starting with being “born again” as infants we need what Peter refers to as the “milk of the word”. Infants who fail to get the milk they need to grow and develop may still be alive but are stunted in their development. Ranchers refer to baby cows who fail to get milk from their mothers as “dobie calves” who are easily identified by their stunted growth and development. They are still alive, but they fail to thrive.
The “milk of the word” referred to by Peter may simply be defined as everything the Bible says that God has done for us in Christ. It describes what God believes about us as his beloved children in whom he is well pleased. This “milk” is essential to our growth and development as a necessary first step toward walking in that abundant life Jesus promised. Without drinking in that milk through faith in what God says is true about us now, we are severely stunted in our growth and development. Believers who fail to receive the milk of the word become like those described by the writer of Hebrews, “…ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principle of the oracles of God, and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat” (Hebrews 5: 12). The “meat of the word” may be defined simply as all the Bible says about how God intends to work through us to love others just like Jesus. Trying to eat meat without growing up on the milk will cause serious problems just like trying to feed a newborn a steak for supper.
Trusting in what God believes about us as his children (drinking the milk) is not as difficult as it may sound. It is the job of the indwelling Spirit to continually bear witness with our spirit concerning our identity as God’s children. In addition, Jesus promised he would teach us, guide us into all truth, and remind us as our personal Comforter. But most importantly, it means simply giving up our prideful efforts to make ourselves “good Christians” in favor of learning about and experiencing what God has and is doing for us that we could not do for ourselves. Shifting our focus to what God says he has made us to be and away from who we are trying so hard to be is the step of faith in what God believes about us. Our job is to simply want to believe the truth, his job is to convince us.