Hebrews 5:12-14 says, “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! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” A good friend of mine pointed out a stunning insight into this passage. While reading it one day, she realized that the main difference between milk and solid food is who owns the process.

A mother is the one who eats food, her body processes the food, her body produces the milk, and then through her body she feeds an infant. The infant receives sustenance, but mom owns the process. The pivot point from milk to solid food isn’t merely one of a different substance, it is also a different process. With solid food a person sees the food, cuts the food, puts the food in their mouths, chews, and swallows. In other words, a person who eats solid food owns the process of eating. I believe this is what the writer of Hebrews is getting at.

Guys! You should no longer need someone telling you the truth, for it is time that you own the truth and the processing of that truth for yourselves! Also, notice in the passage those who eat solid food train themselves rather than rely on another to train them for their whole life.

With this in mind, I want to make an observation about preaching and listening to sermons. If we are not careful, we can easily become addicted to relying on someone else to process the meat of the Word, stand in front of a crowd, and reduce the meat to milk in the way the hearers receive it. Far too often we keep people dependent on a milk system and as leaders we prevent them from growing and maturing beyond us. Everyone will tell you that a person still needing mothers milk at 18 years old is a bit strange, but we don’t always realize we can do that from the pulpit and never think twice about it. Am I saying we need to stop preaching weekly messages? Not really. What I am saying is, in our preaching we must remind, empower, and create a process for personal implementation based in God’s empowering presence (grace), their new identity in Christ, and the calling God has on their lives.

It is learning to take what is shared on Sunday and by God’s grace allowing each member  to meditate on, receive revelation from, and practice personal implementation of that truth that gives value to Sunday’s download. Without the full process, meaty revelation is reduced to another religious fact and has no practical effect on life in the real world. As leaders let’s think through the process so we know how to effectively catalyze discipleship, revelation, and personal implementation (grace-based obedience) into every sphere of society. I have a hunch that this has the potential to contribute to the transformation of cities and nations. Let’s do it together!

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