Hebrews 5:12-14, “You are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat, for every one that uses milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongs to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their sense exercised to discern both good and evil.”
When a baby starts to eat solid food around nine months, it is a joy to feed them. As they continue to grow, and yet do not want their food, we play all kinds of games to make them want to eat it. The spoonful of food becomes an airplane, or the poor little kitchen out in the cold waiting to come into the warm home and so on.
However, the time comes when they grab the spoon away from us and want to feed themselves. They want their independence. It is normal. We anticipate the time when they will eat on their own. We teach them to eat on their own. If we were still spoon feeding our children at five or ten years old, we would be in despair.
Yet, isn’t it amazing that we often still spoon feed our older children their spiritual food. Some are still being spoon fed in their teens. Many adults are still being spoonfed.
Just as a little baby is nursed at the breast and then begins to receive food from the spoon by the parent, so a newborn babe in Christ needs to be nurtured with food. They cannot feed themselves. But growth is part of God’s plan, for physical babies and spiritual babies.
As parents, we love seeing the physical growth of our children. It is exciting to see them take their first steps, to say their first word, and then to grow and develop into adolescents, then teens and then adults, filled with all the wonderful talents God has given them. We should have this same excitement about growth in their spiritual lives.
If they are going to grow, we must teach them to feed themselves. They will stay babies if we keep spoon feeding them.
Many children in Christian homes are taken to Sunday School or Children’s Church every Sunday or perhaps a Bible club during the week and the parents feel they are catering for them spiritually. These are good things, but they are spoon feeding. We have a responsibility to teach our children how to feed for themselves, how to read the Word of God themselves, how to listen for God to speak to them personally as they read.
I am so glad that I was taught this principle growing up in my home. We were taught that it was the normal daily feeding pattern to start the day with a Quiet Time—to read the Word of God and pray. We went to church, Sunday School and Bible clubs, but that didn’t suffice. We learned to read the Word of God personally, to feed ourselves.
At first the Bible seemed dull and boring, but as I learned how to read it, it became the delight of my life. I could not do without my daily nourishment.
When in my teens, I began to read the Word in faith. As I read with expectancy for God to speak to my heart and for revelation to flood my soul, and because I did not want to forget what God said to me, I wrote it down. I wrote the Scripture that spoke to my heart, what I felt it meant, what God spoke to me personally through it, and then I would write a prayer to the Lord.
I still continue this habit to this day. It is true that “Thoughts tend to disentangle themselves when they flow through lips or cross pencil tips.” As I write the Scripture, I see more revelation than when I first read it. As I write what God is saying, more understanding and revelation floods my soul. My spirit is filled up and nourished.
We have recently adopted four teenagers from Liberia, West Africa. I am now teaching them to feed for themselves. As we commence our homeschooling each morning, we start by all opening up the Word of God and reading a certain passage. I teach them to look for God to speak to them.
They then do as I have always done, write the Scripture, write what it means to them and then write a prayer to the Lord. We then go around the table and each one then shares their Scripture and what they have written. They are learning to feed for themselves. We have daily devotions as a family morning and evening, but I inspire the children that this personal time is the most important time of the day.
Don’t let your children be spiritual dwarfs with stunted growth. Teach them how to independently hear from God each new day. If you can encourage them to establish this habit they will keep growing all through their lives.
“Oh Lord, help me to have a healthy appetite for your precious Word. Help me to teach my children how to feed from your Word so that they will grow strong in the Lord. Amen.”
More about Jesus let me learn,
More of His holy will discern;
Hearing His voice in every line,
Making each faithful saying mine.
Many women like to save these devotions. They print them out and keep them in a folder to read over and over again. Some print them out and pin them on the fridge with a magnet to read through the week.