Bonnie and I have noticed what we think is a new paradigm with believers, in this generation. We call it the Milk Paradigm. As you read this blog I want to ask you this; Are you still drinking milk or are you ready for some meat?
The word “Paradigm” is a noun and is defined in the dictionary as follows;
An example serving as a mode; pattern.
Synonyms: mold, standard; ideal, paragon, touchstone
As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word that you may grow thereby. (1Peter 2:2)
Notice first in the scripture the phrase; “as newborn babes.” This is talking about when the human first becomes a believer in Jesus Christ and he is “born again” of His divine nature. Jesus said in the book of John, “You Must Be Born Again.” Just as we were born into this see and be seen world, even so we must be born again of the Spirit of Christ to become new creatures who are going to Heaven. Just as newborns must drink milk to grow, even so full grown humans must drink the “sincere milk” of the word of God. Notice also the phrase, “sincere milk.” This means the heart is sincere towards God and feeds upon elementary truths of the Bible. It isn’t just a few religious thoughts or traditions that are being followed sincerely. The milk of the word is the nutrition that builds a relationship with the Father of Spirits in the sincere heart that is crying out to God. Jesus said “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes out of God’s mouth. Just as a newborn begins to know its parent by the parents voice and the parents words, even so the Bible says the newborn babe in Christ begins its relationship with the Heavenly Father “crying out to God day and night calling Him Abba, Father.” As the words of God come down from Heaven through the scriptures, the human begins to change in character, loving the things of God he once hated and hating the things of the world he once loved and the walk with God begins. Just as the newborn babe begins to crawl, even so believers begin their walk with God crawling in dependency upon God for everything. When the day comes where the newborn babe becomes a toddler and takes its first step and their is great celebration. Even so believers who are learning about God begin their walk with Him, in awe of the goodness of God and the greatness of God’s provision. During this time Milk is all the child can take. It needs milk and then baby food until the teeth begin to form and they will eventually begin to chew on real food. The same is true with all believers. However the Milk paradigm can still continue for many years with the human until the time comes when they are told they must begin to get off of the milk and begin to chew on the deeper truths of the Spirit of God. There comes a time when humans should be no longer babes but full grown believers who walk in the presence of God.
Bonnie and I had a great example when we were in our first Bible School together. We had gotten married and we had taken in a stray cat as a pet and it was a wonderful cat. The only problem was the cat kept having kittens, multitudes of kittens. During the second litter we noticed the kitties from the first litter had gotten greedy and they kept drinking the mother’s milk that belonged to the newborns and we would come into the garage and these kitties had gotten so huge they looked like little round bubbles while the newborns weren’t looking that healthy. We realized we had to separate the first litter from the second litter. We would try to catch these big round kitties from the first litter and they would just scatter and run and hide and we could hardly catch them. We called them “the fat kitties.” Over the years we have seen many believers like them. They have gotten so fat on milk we can’t get them to chew on the meat of the Bible. They think milk is normal and when they hear meat, they think it is strange. They also are so full of what their church has been putting into them they have no room to receive anything new. They will just keep bringing up what is going on in the church and with their friends and it’s hard to have a real spiritual discussion that can bring greater enlightenment. When you hear more about the church, the pastor or their good works more than Jesus, you are hearing carnality. Kitties are cute, but fat kitties look kind of strange. Babies are cute, but not if they are 40+ years old.
And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? (1 Corinthians 3:1-4)
The Apostle Paul warns us about walking like “mere men.” Three times he says “You are Carnal,” and he says you cannot bear to take in the meat of the word of God. He says there is “envying, strife, divisions and walking as men.” For believers, these are some of the signs of the Milk Paradigm. Paul is implying we are to grow up spiritually so we can walk in the presence of God and experience the power of God in our lives. Milk is good for spiritual babies. They must feed on the sincere milk of the word of God that they may grow thereby. However we are supposed to grow up in His divine nature as we feed upon the meat of divine truth. Here are some examples of what I consider to be symptoms of the overgrown spiritual babies that experience the carnality of the Milk Paradigm during a spiritual conversation:
An excessive focus on earthly things or family things
Interruptions during the pivotal point of the conversation
Constant mentions of what is happening in the local church
Non responsive blank stares when it is time for one to respond spiritually
Constant cares of the world and world news
Lack of interest in Spiritual understanding of the presence of God
Disinterest in revelation knowledge to the point of rejection
Manipulation of the conversation towards more comfortable subjects
Relying on sayings such as “I’m blessed, fortunate and to be envied”
No real ability to have a relationship, just empty words
In Bible School, Bonnie and I knew a woman who would say the same thing every time we greeted her. We would say, “How are you doing?” She would say “I’m blessed, fortunate and to be envied.” All year long, no matter what we would say to her, she would respond the same way. We couldn’t even have a spiritual conversation with her. She would make her statement and run away. She even had a reputation around the school for doing that. Finally one day I approached her and told her she needs to think about getting more serious with other people and not just make a statement over and over to no edification. I remember another time I was having a conversation with someone in church and all this fellow wanted to talk about was the things he was doing. At one point in the conversation when he was talking about his pool, I interjected by saying “I don’t want to hear about your pool. I came here to learn about God and I want to hear about your experience with God.
A friend was telling me the other day how a small group of people in the church were having a discussion and it started to become a political conversation and she said she didn’t want to talk about politics because she came to church to hear the knowledge of God. When her husband made a remark about how liberal the conversation was getting, one man stood up and yanked his wife up out of the chair and they walked out and never came back. So the milk of the word gives basic knowledge of the truth and helps “newborn babes” the Bible says, so they can grow, but spiritual milk doesn’t develop spirituality that is stable against carnality. The Milk Paradigm can morph into all different shapes and sizes but the bottom line is the born again heart wants to know God, love God, hear truth from God and walk in the presence of God. Anything short of that is just knowledge. The two trees in the midst of the Garden of Eden represent this fact. You can live in the tree of knowledge all your life but you will die because knowledge doesn’t impart the divine nature to the human. We have more knowledge at this time in History than ever before and mankind is more corrupt than ever before. The Knowledge of God imparts the life of God and that knowledge can only come through the words of God and through fellowship with God. Our studies of the Bible are supposed to guide us into fellowship with God so we can become ready to enter into Heaven to live with God forever. This is why Jesus came from Heaven to earth to die on a cross to pay the penalty for our sins so we could come to Heaven and live with Him forever.
For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (Hebrews 5:12-14)
This passage of scripture shows that there comes a time when we have judged ourselves and have trained our flesh to flow in the divine nature of Jesus Christ. That is the time when we are qualified to be teaching others also. Yet those who are spiritual babies and still need milk are unskillful teachers. However, there is a portion which belongs to those that have practiced obeying the truth to the point that even their flesh is able to discern what is of the flesh and what is of the Spirit. The Bible encourages all believers to concentrate on getting ready to go to Heaven to live there forever because we are going to go there soon and we need to be ready. The purpose of relationship with God is to prepare us for fellowship with God and this fellowship should last all day long from the moment we awake in the morning until the moment we fall asleep at night. Walking with God is a discipline that makes us spiritual enough to determine when our motives and our actions are flowing from the flesh to fulfill it’s lusts and desires, or the Spirit to experience the power of God in our fellowship with God.
So consider your ways and determine if you are one of those believers who have gotten caught in the Milk Paradigm and if you are, get your spiritual focus back on God and on walking with God. Have your choices of movies changed? Have your choices of friends changed? Can you say No to that cigarette? Do you get caught up in world affairs? Are you beaten down by the cares of this world? When you pray, do you finish by listening to what God has to say? Do you walk with God and believe for God’s blessing all the day long? Do you judge your own character? Can you think about others and not just yourself? Can you keep your focus upon God and the scriptures in a spiritual conversation? When someone wants to have a spiritual conversation about God or share their experience with God, judge your listening skills and determine whether you are carnal or are you ready for some meat. Milk is good but meat is the good stuff. Are you feeding on the Milk or are you chewing on Strong Meat? Today could be your last day on earth. Are you ready? The answer to that question requires more than Milk. Meat belongs to them that are of age. Are you an old babe or a young adult?
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. (Ephesians 4:11-16)