“Thomas, I’m sorry, but you’re going to have to wait.” As I buckled my baby boy into his carseat, I knew we were in for a miserable ride. It would take us about ten minutes to get home, and he was already hungry. I had decided that, for the good of the family, it would be better to nurse him at home, so home we went, accompanied by his louder and louder cries of hunger. He was not only hungry, he was famished, and he wanted his milk now.
I Peter 2:2 tells us, “As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.” What is it like to be a newborn baby? Once my baby decided he was hungry, he wanted milk, and there was no alternative that could satisfy him. No distraction, no substitute, no nothing. Do you have a similar appetite for the word of God? If you seek to grow as a Christian, the pure milk of the word is a special gift from God, given to you. So how can you take advantage of it? You can continue to grow as a Christian if you truly value the Bible. Resist the temptations to quit reading it and start again when you fail.
That You May Grow – Not Just a Piece of Cheese
God uses His Word as pure milk to help us grow. When we are busy, it is very easy to skip reading the Bible. However, when we are busy, do we ever skip eating? What would happen if we said, “I’m really busy this week, so I’m just going to eat a piece of cheese?”Not only would we fail to grow, we would die! Yet how often we treat the Word of God in this same cavalier manner! If a newborn baby were to stop nursing, his parents would immediately know that there is something very wrong with him. In fact, if he went even eight hours without food, they would start to worry. They would try to coax him to eat; they would bring him to the doctor to find out what was wrong; in short, they would do everything in their power to get him to eat! Do we have this same approach to the Bible?
Taste That the Lord Is Gracious
When you read the Bible, what do you taste? Do you taste the graciousness of the Lord as mentioned in I Peter 2:2? “If indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.” What does God’s graciousness have to do with Bible reading? Everything! Satan tempts us to not read our Bibles in many ways, but here are two common ones: 1. Satan tempts us to read the Bible just to check off the boxes; or 2. Satan tempts us to give up on Bible reading because we are guilty of number one. Do you hear the words of the tempter: “You just read it to check off the box. Don’t you know God wants your whole heart? You’d better wait to read until you feel like it.” Then, he launches the opposite approach: “You didn’t read your Bible for three days in a row. Don’t you know how evil that is? You’re such a failure.” These and other temptations fail to take into account the reasons given in I Peter 2 for reading the Bible: spiritual growth and the graciousness of the Lord. The Lord is gracious. He sees and knows that I am a weak and sinful human being, and that there are at times circumstances in my life that make Bible reading difficult. For example, I just had a baby, and went for several days without reading my Bible as we adjusted to life with a new family member. The temptation to quit reading altogether, feel guilty, or give up in discouragement is strong. However, the Lord is gracious. He is ever willing to forgive and feed me when I come to Him through His Word.
Helps for Keeping On
So how do we keep on? How do we pick up the Bible, and then, when we fail, pick it up again, and again, and yet again? God has given us a blessing that we often don’t take advantage of – the church. One of the biggest helps for my personal Bible reading has been to have a Bible reading partner. Together, we picked a plan and text each other comments occasionally. There is a big benefit from knowing that there is someone to whom I am accountable. We both have become much more regular in our Bible reading habits and have developed a firm friendship as an added bonus!
Habits also help us to keep on keeping on. When you feel like reading your Bible, read it. When you don’t feel like reading it, read it. When you are drowning in sorrow, read it. When you are impatient in waiting, read it. When you are rejoicing in blessing, read it. It is God’s food for your soul. It is vital to your life and indispensable to your growth as a Christian.
Reading Scripture is a form of communion with the Lord. In this process, we are oriented to listen to our Heavenly Father and are enabled to understand Him because we have been regenerated and indwelled by His Spirit. As, by nature, a new baby desires his mother’s milk, so by nature a regenerated soul desires the Word of God. Are you being a baby?
Thanks to Rachel Jankovic for this illustration.