Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” John 4:13-14
Have you ever experienced those hot summer days where you just cannot seem to quench your thirst, even after drinking some refreshing cold water? Or have those moments where you wander around the kitchen looking for something to quiet the rumblings in your stomach, hoping not to spoil dinner, but just want a quick snack in hopes to tide you over…but after nibbling you find you’re still hungry? One thing that many westernized people struggle with is the insatiable need for instant results. We chase after fads because often they make promises of immediate solutions. All those late night infomercials that promote wellness, healing, self-improvement, and the like, by either taking some pills or using this-or-that product show the desperation of people to shortcut the work that is often necessary to obtain their goals. Everyone is looking for the “quick fix” to make them happy and there are many companies that are more than willing to take your money and give you the “miracle” without the work! But, do they really work? No, because in reality the things we think we want or need does take work and time. There are no overnight miracles. Unfortunately, this is the life of most modern Christians today when it comes to gaining spiritual fuel for the soul. Instead of putting in time and labor, many resort to quick-fix short-cuts instead.
When someone first comes to faith in Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior, their first steps can often be likened to a newborn baby that can only take milk early on for their nourishment. Obviously, babies cannot eat solid foods in the beginning days of life until their systems develop. The same idea holds true with new Christians. They are not prepared to absorb the heavy meats of doctrinal or theological substance until they have the basics of their faith understood. “Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord (1 Peter 2:2-3).
Some “newborn” Christians try to delve too fast into deep spiritual matters before they have a solid foundational stance on the Gospel. Problems can come about because there are so many deeply contested topics of theology and they can become overwhelming and cause the new believers to stumble or get confused since they still struggle in the flesh. New Christians early on may still hold a worldly viewpoint that can conflict with the Gospel message. Paul addressed that issue to the church in Corinth by saying “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men? (1 Corinthians 3:1-3) He told them this as a warning that they need to lay a firm foundation of Gospel truth, turn away from the worldly passions and ideologies, before they were ready to gain deeper spiritual insights.
A solid Biblical upbringing in the faith builds over time through the study of the Scriptures, coupled with good teaching from a faithful church and fellowship with Godly saints. This growth is called sanctification, and is a process that continues in the life of a believer until the end times and our appearing before the Lord in Heaven. Like any training, we must strive diligently to grow in the new life in Christ and “not to wrangle about words, which is useless and leads to the ruin of the hearers.” We are also to “be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:14-15) By thorough study of the Scriptures we can “avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness”.
Being lackadaisical in our walk can lead to spiritual laziness and weakness of faith, which can certainly be used against us by the enemies of Christ. It says in Hebrews 5:11-14; “Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.”
The solid food that is referenced in Hebrews comes from a deep and sound Biblical understanding derived from the study of the complete Word of God. We will never get a full understanding of the Scriptures by reading snippets of verses from the Bible or seeing the occasional memes posted on social media. Nor do we gain a full understanding of the Bible reading nothing but devotionals. While there is nothing wrong with these things in the periphery of our faith walk, we cannot use them as a substitute for reading and studying the word of God. Many of the best preachers and teachers will present Scripture using a method called “expository preaching,” where they will teach through an entire book of the Bible, from beginning to end. Then when complete, they will start another book and teach through that one from the beginning to the end. By this method, you learn not only what the Word is saying, but you will also gain knowledge of the history, context, and other related Scriptures that becomes the “meat” needed for your edification and growth. And we need to do this ourselves!
Unfortunately, many Christians remain stagnant in their growth because they don’t put forth the effort to read and study the Word. They might feel they receive sufficient “teaching” because they read a paragraph or two from a daily devotional that might contain a Scripture verse related to the commentary. While these are nice and quick encouragements, this should never be a substitute for daily reading the Word of God. It can become easy to dismiss a regular reading and study when the rush of life flares up and we have limited time outside of the hustle and bustle of our daily schedules. Often we find that we are either too limited with time or too tired from the exhaustive schedules to sit down with the Lord and His Word. When this occurs, it is quite easy to slip into the comforts of a quick devotional and count it as “good” with God. But, again, this is mere “milk” versus “meat”.
Since there are so few Churches truly teaching depth from the Word of God each week, and add to the fact that many professing Christians don’t attend church either regularly or at all, there is a gaping void in people feasting on the riches of God’s Word with fervency. Without a good solid growth, many will easily fall prey to the enemy’s lure and lies. False teachers multiply casting their deceptions because the believers are not equipped enough to identify the devil’s falsehoods. The busy Christian feels comfortable with a casual and light atmosphere gathering, so as not to place too heavy a burden of theological teachings on their already chaotic life. By avoiding having to “think” too much on the teachings, they can relax and count the feel-good fluff as “enough” of God’s Word to suffice their intake. If the soul is not hungry for more, than it might be time to evaluate your standing with God!
We don’t need to become Bible scholars or theologians to study the breadth and depths of God’s Word. But the Bible does tell us to search the Scriptures diligently and that the Word of God is important in our lives as believers because “the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12) Every aspect of our growth needs the deep study the Word of God because “all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17) God’s Word is the “lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119) so that we know where we are going and have the confidence to finish the race! In fact, we are even commanded to meditate on it day and night!
This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. Joshua 1:8
Remember that Jesus defeated the temptations of the devil in the wilderness because He was able to quote God’s truths from the Scriptures back at the enemies lies. If our Savior used Scripture to thwart the devil, what makes us so sure we can stand against temptations in this world without the full knowledge of God’s Word? This knowledge is so important in our daily walk to stand in the truth and avoid temptations from the enemy. If we take His Word casually, that very Word which God has given to us for our edification and sanctification, we can easily become deceived into thinking that we are walking faithfully, and yet we are going through life essentially unarmed. Without the deeper studies, beyond the bits and pieces we glean from “other” sources, we will never truly get the complete nourishment that our souls need to survive this fallen and dark world. Milk is never enough to fuel and strengthen us to withstand the storms in life and finish the race. We need to devour full meals, a complete course of meat from the entirety of Scripture, to grow and be equipped, as He wants us to be…mature and complete!
Quick snacks may help tide temporal hunger pains, but our souls need complete sustenance. The full three course meal daily consists of the study of the entire Scripture, solid Biblical teaching, and fellowship of the Saints. Anything less is like going to bed hungry and can leave you weak and vulnerable to the ravages of sin. God has seen to it to provide all that we need from our beginning walk with Christ until the very end, but we need to know His Word which says “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” (Psalm 119:11) His Word is the “Sword of the Spirit” that helps us be able to stand against the evil one’s attacks and lies. God says in His Word that “in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” So, let us know Him and His will for us completely through the diligent study of His Word, the Holy Bible, and become the mature and solid believers that God wants us become…equipped for every good work to the glory of His Name!