Like most other four-month-olds, my son Ezekiel is still learning the art of hand-eye coordination. He tries to lift his teething toy to his mouth, and it bumps his forehead instead. His brow furrows as he concentrates, tries again…and pulls the teething toy straight into his nose. This normally continues for a few more tries until I help guide the teether to his gummy mouth, and all is well. When he tries to suck his thumb, he typically gets poked in the cheek or chin a few times until his thumb successfully finds his mouth.
However, when it’s milk time, he becomes a completely different little boy. Once his big dark eyes lock onto his bottle, his hand-eye coordination ability is transformed. He confidently and skillfully grabs the bottle with both chubby hands, pulls it straight to his mouth, and happily starts gulping. Until the bottle is completely empty, there is no stopping him. He chugs as if he hasn’t eaten in days (although I assure him it has only been a few hours since his last meal). If I attempt to move or take away the bottle, his baby grip turns to full-grown-man-super-strength and he holds on to that bottle with all his might until every last drop is gone. You could say that Ezekiel has a strong longing for his milk, and there is much I can learn from his desire.
The apostle Peter tells us in 1 Peter:
“…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
As I have been working my way through 1 Peter, the Lord has used my tiny son to remind me of this truth, and how I often do not long for the milk of the Word. There are seasons in my life where I am like Ezekiel in how I fiercely desire and take in God’s Word, but there are others where my time in the Bible feels a bit lackluster–more like a baby who casually takes a few sips from the bottle before moving on to something else. But in order for a baby to grow, he or she must long for milk and consume it like their life depends on it! And in a sense, their life does indeed depend on it. Without the proper nourishment, a baby will have tremendous difficulty growing. Likewise, without consistent, quality time in the Word and a desire for the bread of life, growth in our faith will be challenging. I have noticed this in my own time in the Word. In the seasons where I’m not spending quality time in God’s Word, my faith feels stagnant and it becomes harder and harder to fight sin. I can allow the tasks and rhythm of daily life to become prioritized over time with the Lord. But in the seasons where I long for the Word like Ezekiel longs for his milk, I find my faith growing and the Lord sanctifying me to make me more and more like Christ each day (which at times can feel exciting and joyful, or challenging and painful…growth spurts can hurt)!
So as this school year starts and summer begins to fade into fall, I am trusting the Lord to grow me in my longing for the pure milk of the Word. I am trusting Him to help me be diligent and consistent in my time with Him, and that as I long for His Word, He will grow me to daily become more like Him. Let us all be like little newborn babies, who grow and grow as we long for the pure milk of the Word!