This morning as M was “eating” her scrambled egg pancake, I was reminded of Hebrews 5:12-14 where Paul talks about maturing into solid foods, comparing physical maturity to spiritual maturity.
Healthy babies come out of the womb knowing how to drink and digest milk. They get hungry frequently because their little tummies can only hold so much milk at a time and are often gassy because their digestive tracks are too immature to process all the nutrients in the milk. Similarly, spiritual newborns (new believers) need to be fed the foundations of the Christian faith and can’t/aren’t meant to “digest” the intricacies and nuances right away. However, as babies grow their tummies expand and digestive tracts mature, so they eventually grow into eating solids and self-feeding.
I had always stopped there when thinking through this analogy of moving on to solid foods–until today! A 7-month old’s approach to solids is way different from a 28-year-old’s approach, which seems like common sense… but I’d never thought it through in the spiritual sense.
My 7-month-old can pick up food, break it apart, and gum some of it down, but let’s face it: most of the food ends up on her face, in her clothes, or on the floor. Her digestive system is also still too immature to handle many foods, so combined with her lack of motor skills & chewing skills, there’s only so much she can chew on (pun intended). In a similar sense, a Christian who has only recently started self-feeding isn’t going to be able to digest quite as much as one who has been walking in the faith for 20 years.
We don’t engage a 7-month-old like we do a 28-year-old. We also don’t expect a 7-month-old to stay on baby finger foods forever–we teach them to use utensils and chew their food as their bodies also get stronger and become able to digest it.
Might I remember watching M eat her scrambled egg pancake today, mindful of friends who have more recently moved to solid foods, and strive to eat like an adult, (so to speak), knowing and loving Jesus more as I process more solid foods in my walk with Him!