Nutrition is the key to growth. Spiritual growth is somehow like physical growth. The spirit needs regular and constant nourishment in order to live and grow. As physical bodies need physical foods for growth, the spirit also needs spiritual food for growth.
Spiritual growth does not always mature with physical age. A person can grow physically old but still an infant in his or her faith in God. When we lack spiritual nourishment, we cannot grow and develop spiritually. It is not God’s will that believers remain stunted in their spiritual growth. We need to grow up. We can achieve that when we are properly nourished.
There are malnourished Christians. There can be many factors that could account for the spiritual malnourishment but the core reason is lack of spiritual food. Take for example when we restrict or abuse our diet, we become unhealthy and sickly. It is similar with our spiritual health. Once we do not care for our spiritual health, we abandon it to decay.
What is our spiritual food? The Word of God and prayer. I think of the Word of God as the food for our spirit and prayer as the oxygen for our spirit. The food and air of our spiritual life. Once our spirit is deprived of the Word of God and prayer, we are abusing our spiritual health. We are not caring for our life as we should. Our body is important, but our spirit is important too. We must care for both. In the end, the physical body expires and decay, but the spiritual body lasts for eternity.
“It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of God’s mouth.’ ”– Matthew 4:4 (WEB)
Long for pure spiritual milk. The Word of God or Christ Himself is the pure spiritual milk. We should long for this. As Christians, we have been born again by incorruptible seed which is the Word of God (1 Peter 1:23), so we are to put away ALL (1 Peter 2:1):
- evil speaking
And having put away all these, we are to long for pure spiritual milk that we may grow.
“… as newborn babies, long for the pure spiritual milk, that with it you may grow, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.”– 1 Peter 2:2-3 (WEB)
Newborn babies crave for milk with great hunger and excitement. They grow strong and big as they are nourished with milk. Do we crave for God in the same way? How deep is our longing to grow in Christ? How much do we long to grow in our spiritual life? Our longing is directly proportional to our action. Remember the times when you are craving for your favorite chocolate, your favorite snack, or your favorite drink. You surely make a way to buy it and eat it with enjoyment. Why? Because you long for it. Similarly, when we desire to grow in the Lord and when we desire for His Word and His presence, we will act on it. When we have that great longing for God, we will make a way to be nourished spiritually.
“Jesus therefore said to them, ‘Most certainly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you don’t have life in yourselves. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on me will also live because of me. This is the bread which came down out of heaven—not as our fathers ate the manna and died. He who eats this bread will live forever.’ ”– John 6:53-58 (WEB)