Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Milk To Meat

I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able;"  1 Corinthians 3:2

This week there's almost been a scent wafting through the house.  An aroma, if you will.  You would think this time of year that the dominant aroma would be that of baking and baked goods.  Cookies, cake, holiday treats, and all kinds of dainties come out of the kitchen every single day.  Though, that is not the aroma that keeps tantalizing my senses.  What I've been experiencing this week is most definitely a savory smell.  The best I can describe it as is what I think of when I think of the flavor of umami. Umami is the fifth flavor that the tongue can identify- we have sweet, salty, sour and bitter, and umami.  Umami is a meaty taste- it's found in red meat, mushrooms, tomatoes, soy sauce, and oysters as an example.  It's also what I think of when I smell a roast cooking slowly all day long, or the smell that wafts up from a bowl of delicious gravy made with meat drippings.  It's a wonderful taste and smell.  And I've been smelling it- even without a long slow roast going, or anything cooking at all.

It's a smell that makes me smile, it makes me take a deep breath and really drink it in, and I was wondering about it last night when I crawled into bed.  Why was I smelling this Umami in the house?  I mean, I've been cooking as normal, and the cooking odors don't usually linger like this.  Is this something that God is trying to tell me?  That's a question I always go to when the unexpected is happening. What is this, and what is God trying to tell me, if anything.  And the more I thought on this, the more I thought that perhaps there was something there, something that God wanted me to mull on and dwell on in my thoughts.  And then a few scriptures came to mind and I needed to look them up. 

One of these verses was the first one I posted, found in 1 Corinthians.  And the other verses are in Hebrews, chapter 5.

"For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil."  Hebrews 5:12-14

Could it be that I've lingered too long in the infancy stage in my walk with God?  When I think about that, it really makes me look inside and really think on it.  It could be.  What these verses are talking about is not literal milk and solid food, rather coming to my Bible and gleaning only the milk from the scriptures, instead of looking deeper for the solid food- for the real meat hidden within.  Maybe there are too many times where I open up my Bible, and I almost just want to find something basic, something nice, something that will make me smile and then I'll go about my day.  The reality is that maybe I don't really want to open up my Bible, really dig in and then see something that is critical of me.  I don't want to see the errors of my ways or be challenged with a new way of thought.

That's not always how it is.  Sometimes I do really want to dig in, but it's not often enough, especially recently.  In fact, when I was taking my blogging break, it was also kind of a not reading the Bible much break, and boy, could I tell.  I would read just one or two verses and pat myself on the back for at least opening up and reading something.   My attitude was rather suckish.  And while it's still a struggle some days to even motivate myself to open up my Bible and dig in, more often than not, I've been finding little nuggets hiding within.

But perhaps those nuggets are not what I'm supposed to be finding.  Maybe I'm still skimming the surface, lapping up the milk, but avoiding the real meat.   Hebrews says that solid food belongs to those who are of age, and I suspect that I've spent far too long behaving as a babe with the Word of God.  When I read verse thirteen and I see that those who partake only of the milk is considered unskilled in the word of righteousness.   I don't want to be unskilled!  One of my great frustrations with myself is that I hear all this wonderful preaching and teaching about how to make the Word of God more active in my life, yet I don't put it to use.   Maybe it's because I haven't taken that important step to decide to set aside the milk and reach for the real meat before me.

It's truly amazing to experience something in the everyday- something as basic as smelling meat cooking- and then find truth about that very thing hiding in the Bible.  I really think that I'm smelling meat because my inner man, my spirit is craving meat, and now it's up to my outer man to see that the inner man gets what it's craving.  How do I do that?  I have no idea, but I know I can't get past the milk by being so complacent in my reading- I need to be more purposeful, and more intense.  I need to take the time to pray before I read, and after I read, and then commit certain passages to memory for meditation and reflection.  Basically, it takes more work on my part. Just as it takes much more work to chew a piece of beef versus drinking a glass of milk.   The benefit there is that the protein in the beef is a more hearty version of protein.  It lasts longer in the body, it sustains longer and it nourishes.  The milk also nourishes, but it goes through the system much more quickly.

I think the meat will be well worth it.

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