This is part one of a two part series on how to grow in faith (read Part II). Christians are part of a huge puzzle. People use their gifts to connect with people who need those gifts so they can grow in their faith and use their gifts to help still others. There is a progression as we join God’s kingdom, a progression of maturity or spiritual growth. I think of the two roles in this connection as the Eaters and the Feeders. This post is about those I call the Eaters – who need to be fed.Part II). Christians are part of a huge puzzle. People use their gifts to connect with people who need those gifts so they can grow in their faith and use their gifts to help still others. There is a progression as we join God’s kingdom, a progression of maturity or spiritual growth. I think of the two roles in this connection as the Eaters and the Feeders. This post is about those I call the Eaters – who need to be fed.
Elijah and the Ravens
The story of Elijah and the ravens in the Old Testament is a beautiful story that illustrates the partnership that exists in the family of God to help learn how to grow in faith. Let’s start with that story.
“Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah: “Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. You will drink from the brook, and I have directed the ravens to supply you with food there.” So he did what the Lord had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook” (1 Kings 17:2-6).
For the purposes of this post, I will focus on the Eaters in God’s plan – those who are like Elijah. My next post will focus on the Feeders in God’s plan – the ravens.
Elijah was Called
Elijah was already a leader – he was a prophet. In 1 Kings 17:1, he shares God’s prophetic word with Ahab, the evil king. Elijah tells him that there is going to be a drought in the land, and only when God tells Elijah the drought is over will it be finished.
Elijah was called for a purpose in God’s plan. But God often calls us when we aren’t quite ready for the job, and this seems to be the case with Elijah because of what happens next.
Elijah was a leader, but he still needed to be fed and nourished and matured. God knew he was ready for the next step in his faith walk.
Eaters are Called
What about you, are you ready for the next step in your faith walk? To know if you are ready to be an Eater, consider these passages:
- “Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly – mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready” (1 Corinthians 3:1-2).
- “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” (Hebrews 5:12).
- “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation” (1 Peter 2:2).
My nephew and his wife recently had a sweet baby boy. William is happily nursing and growing. He gets milk, and that’s all. Babies are not able to digest solid food, so while their digestive systems mature, we feed them milk. We tuck a bib under their chins and feed them. They do nothing but receive the nourishment.
New Christians are compared to spiritual babies. We only can tolerate the elementary teachings of the Bible. We aren’t ready to digest deeper truths. Eventually, we develop a hunger for more of God’s word and we are ready for more meaty study. We begin to dive into the Bible on our own, feeding ourselves.
Are you ready for the next step? Have you had your fill of the milk, the elementary teachings? Are you ready for something more substantial?
Elijah was called because he was ready for the next step. Are you?
Elijah was Still
Elijah was told to go to the brook called Kerith and hide himself. The word ‘hide’ in Hebrew means to be concealed, to hide carefully, to be out of sight, to be absent. In the Bible, God is mentioned as a hiding place for us.
- “My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place” (Psalm 139:15).
- “Keep me as the apple of your eye, hide me in the shadow of your wings” (Psalm 17:8).
Elijah was already a leader in God’s plan, but he still needed to get away and be still. I know how hard it is for leaders to sit still. There are so many things on my to do list every day I mostly never complete everything. But I always start my day sitting and being still. I depend on that time to establish my peace and my strength for the day ahead of me.
Even Jesus had to get away and sit still, “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed” (Mark 1:35).
Eaters are Still
This can be compared today to us getting alone with God. We need to spend time, sometimes lots of time, in order to develop a deep spiritual connection to God. He desires a relationship with us, and getting alone with him is really not an option, it’s essential. His invitation comes in Psalm 46:10: “Be still, and know that I am God.” We often fill our time with God by endless babbling, asking God and maybe even telling God how he needs to arrange things. But how much time do we spend listening to God? Do we remember in a relationship we have to listen as well as talk? Do we remember we have two ears and only one mouth?
I wonder if Elijah bristled a little when God told him to hide and sit still? Do you struggle to do that as well? No matter how mature we are spiritually, no matter what level of responsibility we have in ministry, it is still essential to hide away in a secret place and sit still.
Eaters are Filled
The next thing God told Elijah was to eat and drink – to be filled. But God gave specific instructions on what Elijah was supposed to be filled with, and he supernaturally supplied the nourishment. The specific nourishment has great symbolism for us when we compare it to the teachings of the New Testament.
- Drink water from the brook. Jesus is the Water of Life, and when we drink of His Living Water, we will never be thirsty again. In fact, rivers of living water will flow out of us to other people. We will splash them with sparkling droplets of living water.
- Eat the food the ravens will bring you. The ravens are the subject of my next blog post. But notice what they brought. Bread – because Jesus is the Bread of life. And Meat – no more milk for this Eater!
How to Grow in Faith – the Eaters
Do you sense a restlessness inside? Maybe you’ve been serving in church for a while but have a sense of holy dissatisfaction. Sometimes God stirs our spirit that way to get us ready for a move in our spiritual journey. Is that what he’s doing in you now? If so, it’s time to pay close attention to what’s happening around you. Start to practice listening prayer, start with my blog post: The Art of Listening Prayer for Motor Mouths.
Are you ready to sit still for a while, to hide away in a secret place with him so you can focus on your relationship with him? Do you crave time away from your busyness? Is it time for a spiritual retreat or merely a few minutes every morning to sit and soak? Is it time to get to know him more intimately? You can start by reading a series of blog posts I wrote about the personality of Jesus:
Where are you in your spiritual journey? Are you still in your high chair, bib strapped around your neck, sipping on milk? Or are you ready to take off your bib, grab a fork, and start chewing on meat? Maybe you need a recommendation for a good Bible study? Read this post from last year’s Bible Study Expo: How to Choose the Best Bible Study. You might also find my book and study guide a great resource for growing in your faith. Visit PricklyPeople to find out more.
How to Grow in Faith: the Feeders
My next blog post will focus on the role of the Feeders (ravens) in this story, those who were obedient, knowledgeable, and faithful. Are you a raven? Stay tuned to find out.
…because U count, deb