When Mercedes was born we had to feed her all the time. Seriously, we had to feed her and feed her and feed her and change her and change her and change her. Now, we don’t have to do either. I mean, she can feed herself and she is fully potty trained. It is great. I will say, it is great when they start talking, but when we are trying to order at the drive thru and she is in the back saying, “I want a milk shake!” I wish she couldn’t talk. But the point is that she is growing up. I remember when she was starting to hold her own bottle. She didn’t know how to tip the bottle back so she would tip her whole body back and fall backwards. I remember the first time we fed her a type of baby food, I think it was bananas, she did not let us take the spoon out of her mouth. She loved it so much that she just wanted to suck on the spoon. But she was used to a bottle and a bottle you don’t take out of your mouth to get more. Mercedes had to grow out of these things. You know how many times I hear her say that she does not like a certain type of food? That does not mean it is not important.
In like manner, we as Christians must grow. We must learn to feed ourselves. We must learn how to eat solid food. Sometimes this is difficult. Sometimes we choke on the solid food. Sometimes we don’t like it, but we must take it in. We may not like vegetables, but that does not mean we do not need them. You need them. I need them. We may only like the sugary items, but you cannot only have sugars. You need meats. We need protein. In the Christian life sugar is the feel good messages that may not take a lot of thinking or struggling. But the meat contains the deep messages and content that we may struggle through. The deep things of the Christian life may not be just content. The deep things of the Christian life may be, “Where is God when life hurts?” You don’t get into the depth if you don’t learn to feed yourself.
Today, I want to talk about feeding yourself.
You are the Church, being fed and feeding yourself.
You are all the church if you have believed in and committed to Christ. As part of the church I am to feed you, but you are also to feed yourself.
- My main point of application is to learn to feed yourself and grow as a result. Let’s read Hebrews 5:11-14:
We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. 12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.x 
- Starting in chapter 4:14 the writer transitioned to write about the High Priest. Prior to 4:14 the writer was warning the Hebrew people not to fall away. The writer gave the example of the Hebrew people in Numbers 14. This was the situation when Moses sent spies to see the land of Canaan. All but two of the spies, Joshua and Caleb, were scared of the people in the land. Because of their lack of faith, God punished Israel by making them wander in the wilderness for 40 years. The writer was writing about Jesus as the great High Priest from 4:14 until now. In 5:6 the writer says that Jesus is the High Priest in the order of Melchizedek. The writer spends the next few verses (until 5:10) talking about Melchizedek. Melchizedek is found in Genesis 14. He was a priest-king. He was the king of Salem. Abram gave Melchizedek a tithe, being 10 percent of his spoils from the battle he had with the kings of the east who had taken his nephew Lot. Melchizedek was a priest who was not of the priestly line which would be the line of descent from Aaron or the Levites. Jesus is the great High Priest even though He is not from the line of Aaron or the Levites. Abram submitted to Melchizedek and Abram was prior to Moses and prior to Aaron so it should follow that Melchizedek is someone important.
- That is how we get to here. But in this passage the writer says that he would like to give them more, but he can’t because they are stuck as babies. The content I just gave is straight from the Bible but we do have to follow it.
- I have referenced Mercedes and could also reference Abigail about growing up. Abigail is learning to peddle her bike, learning to put her shoes on and so much more. But Mercedes is two years ahead of her. For some time now, Mercedes has wanted to run with me. I love running with my children, but they are getting too big. But we still go out and run several times a week. Well, a few years ago I weighed like twenty-thirty pounds less and I was a much faster runner. Mercedes also weighed less as she was just two years old. I was running the Alliance Rotary Castle run. Mercedes and I were running and we were moving. It was great. She was riding along just talking and singing. Then we started coming down Glamorgan or some street over there and I saw Tonya Penturf. I thought how cool it would be to pass Tonya when I am pushing a baby. Of course Tonya is much, much, much older than me so I should run faster. We passed her and then Mercedes threw her shoe. I then had to stop and pick up her shoe and Tonya passed me. Tonya finished ahead of me and Dave Penturf gave me $20 for letting his wife beat me. But when we run Mercedes will say, “Daddy, can I run with you?” I will say, “No, Mercedes you need to ride in the jogging stroller.” She will say how she can run so fast and even show me. She wants to run with me so bad. Someday, I believe that she will grow up and I hope I can run with her then. Mercedes has to grow up for this and we expect her to grow up. We expect her to grow stronger.
- We want, we desire, we expect that children grow up and get stronger.
One of my favorite preachers says this:
I love babies. I think others ought to have as many as they wish. I think it’s a delightful, enjoyable experience to watch babies grow up and to become little people, little men and women, adolescents, and functioning persons. But you and I know that there are some things about little babies that are not very attractive. We humor them because they’re babies.
Here’s a list of things: they are dependent and demanding. They are unable to feed themselves. They are unable to stay out of messes. They love to be the center of attention. They are driven by impulses such as hunger, pain, sleep. They’re irritated when they are dirty, even though they made the mess, and you’ve gotta clean it up. They have no manners, no control. They have little attention span, no concern for others, no abilities or skills.
Now these are natural things that are part of babyhood. But when you see adults with those characteristics, something tragic has happened, something terribly unfunny. The Christian who is not interested in growing wants to be entertained. He wants a diet of milk when he cries for it. He wants his way. And he’s gonna get it, no matter how many he will have to disrupt to get it.
You see, in order for a Christian to handle solid food, he has to have a growing, mature digestive system. He needs teeth. He needs to have an appetite that is cultivated over a period of time for deep things, for the solid things of God. Spiritual babies must grow up. Some of the most difficult people to live with in the church of Jesus Christ are those that have grown old in the Lord but haven’t grown up in Him.
- Sometimes we stay as babies.
- On the other hand, sometimes we only eat once a week. We think it is enough to be fed spiritually only on Sunday, yet we wonder why we vomit the spiritual content. We wonder why we are nauseous the rest of the day. We wonder why we have spiritual Charlie horses. We wonder… I once heard that when people are starving and they start eating they get sick. For example, people who were prisoners of war and finally get out start eating. When they eat they get sick. This is because their body cannot handle it. In that case it is not their fault. But it is my fault if I willingly refuse to eat except on Sundays and then gorge myself, making myself sick.
- Sometimes I like to run twice on one day of the week so that I can skip the next day. Sometimes I like to run extra long one day and skip the next day. However, sometimes my body cannot take that. My body is more equipped to handle 7 runs that are 6 miles than one run that is 42 miles. Or, actually, my body can handle 5 runs that are 6 miles and then 1 run that is 20 miles.
- You cannot sacrifice spiritually as a Christian all week and catch up on Sunday.
- Let me make a disclaimer. If you are a new Christian God will give you something on Sunday. The problem is that after you have been a believer a certain amount of time and you ignore the Spirit through the week, then I highly doubt God will give much on Sunday. This is because you have been desensitized to the Spirit. I know that is a strong statement, but it is our fallen human nature. We ignore something so long and then our minds get used to it. For example, I know there are things in your house that you don’t notice, this is because you no longer intentionally notice them. You don’t use that item.
- True story: a church got a new piano, but people would not allow them to get rid of the old piano. It was donated by someone or something like that. So, it was no good, but the church could not move it out of the sanctuary without upsetting people. They didn’t use it but it had to stay in the sanctuary. Well, they moved that piano an inch or a few inches back every week. They had a large side aisle and they just gradually moved that piano back until it was gone and no one noticed. No one noticed because it gradually moved back. We do that spiritually, don’t we? We gradually push God out of our life.
- So, here is the grand application. Learn to eat strong spiritual food. Spend time with Him through the week. Invest in your relationship with Jesus.
- Let’s talk about feeding yourself.
- Try to read Scripture most days of the week.
- Try to read a chapter. Pray first for the Lord to guide you and speak to you and then read.
- As you read, make an application.
- Try to pray every time you think of something, but also have dedicated prayer times.
- Meet with another believe and pray and sharpen each other.
- Read some books to aid your spiritual growth. Just read a few pages at a time. I can recommend some:
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer: “The Cost of Discipleship”
- Rick Warren: “Purpose Driven Life”
I referenced Mercedes having to learn how to feed herself. That is true. Eventually she learned how to drink her own bottle and then she learned how to eat and drink and walk and talk and much more. Now she even rides a bike. But some day I expect her to grow up. Someday my prayer is that she can take care of herself, really. My prayer is that my children grow up to be responsible.
As Christians we need to grow so that we can be responsible spiritually. We need to be able to feed ourselves and then we can actually help feed other believers.
God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)
Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)
Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)
Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)
Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)
Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)
x Isa 7:15
 The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Heb 5:11–14.
 Swindoll, Charles R. Read in Swindoll’s Ultimate Book of Illustrations & Quotes. Thomas Nelson. Nashville, TN 1998. Page 80.