like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation
There is a reason that reading the Word is stressed by prophets, apostles, and teachers. It is the one certain way a child of Christ grows in faith and in his relationship with God. It is easy to forget how important knowing the Word is for a solid foundation of faith when the concerns of daily living crowds out all else. But it is in this crowded living wrapped up in the issues of family, finances, and the fear of the future that knowing the Word is so vital. I should know. In my now 35 years of being born again I unfortunately recall that too many of those years were spent largely apart from daily or devotional Bible reading. In spite of the fact that I was involved in a local Bible believing church. And in spite of hearing a lot how important it is. It was too easy for me to feel that reading the Word on Sundays and Wednesdays and hearing it expounded can take the place of our personally dwelling in those pages on my own every day. But we don’t only eat our meals two days a week, and we don’t only drink beverages two days a week. If we did we would very quickly learn that you will not survive long. Well how about surviving spiritually? Or beyond surviving, how about flourishing?
I liken reading the Word to reading any correspondence between individuals who are related, who are concerned about each other. Especially love letters between the love-lost. If you were apart from your loved one for any length of time and distance certainly you would delight in all correspondence. No doubt you would read and reread letters becoming so familiar as to memorize phrases, thoughts, maybe entire letters. Certainly you would be compelled to pour over every word to know what the other was doing, was going through, what thoughts, concerns and feelings were on their mind. You would be hungry to read because you would be hungry to know them.
The very same thing applies to reading God’s Word, because this is His love letter to us. In it He reveals everything about Him that is important for us to know. There is nothing left out that would impact our love and devotion to Him. Nothing. It is all there. And with the 66 books of our Old and New Testaments, that is one serious love letter.
Think about it – why wouldn’t you want to know everything that is in those 66 books, if it reveals to us who He is and what He has done in His creation, and all the things He has done for us, and all of the things He is going to do? Why wouldn’t you want to learn everything you can about Him? Peter writes that by the Word we grow. Growing is a valuable thing, right? So long for it. Delight in it. Because by doing so you are longing and delighting in Him. Delight yourself in the Lord.You know what happens, what the effect is of delighting in the LOrd don’t you. He gives you the desires of your heart.. That is, all the good things He wants you to have, the desire for those things comes from Him. He gives them to you. So, just like a newborn is hungry for milk for nourishment, so too we should long for the Word to be spiritually healthy and strong.
[Scriptures taken from the New American Standard Bible © 1995]