Does it really matter if an infant learns to have devotions? How in the world would you make that happen if it were a possibility?
The miracle of spiritual new birth is almost indescribable! When an unbeliever trusts in Jesus Christ as his Savior, God gives him the right to become a child of God (John 1:12). Once he is a child of God, there is a transformation that takes place and you are a new creation of God (2 Cor. 5:17). With that transformation is a desire for food, but a child of God, or rather spiritual infant, can only handle milk, so he needs help in nursing on spiritual milk (1 Thes. 2:7-8).
That new believer needs someone to come alongside of him. He has to learn a new way of thinking, speaking and acting. He does not know, except what he learns from God’s Word. A spiritual parent will be the one who through love cares for him as a nursing mother (1 Thes. 2:7-8). By helping a spiritual infant, this person can grow to become a spiritual child and eventually a spiritual parent. There are six things a spiritual parent should help a spiritual infant understand.
First, his relationship with God is the most important factor in life. He has just entered into a spiritual relationship with the God of the universe, and that relationship is called “eternal life.” How long is “eternal.” Longer than I can imagine. It will never end. But “eternal” also describes the kind of life that a person has with God. Jesus said it well, “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (John 17:3 NKJ) The word for “know” is an experiential knowledge just as an infant grows in an experiential knowledge with his parent. The parent’s voice, fragrance, and looks all give comfort to an infant in a difficult world. In the same way, the Father is represented by spiritual parents on earth who help the spiritual infant grow in a relationship with the invisible, eternal God. It takes time, love and patience for the spiritual infant to grow in his relationship with God, who is Spirit.
Secondly, he must learn that God DESIRES the child’s worship and relationship. John wrote, “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.” (John 4:23 NKJ)Because God is invisible and does not speak in an audible voice, it is difficult for a spiritual infant to relate with God, yet a spiritual parent will help the infant know that God is not some distant deity, but a present, living God who loves him so much He sent Jesus to die on the cross for his sins. An infant won’t understand very much about sins, but he knows that for salvation Jesus died on the cross for his sins. That is enough to draw the spiritual infant’s heart to praise the Lord to worship.
Thirdly, he will learn to delight in the Word. Life is not all about Facebook, Xbox and cartoons. Very early in life, a spiritual infant must learn the joy of learning from God’s Word. That means the spiritual parent must be excited about what he is learning, so the child sees that his parent, mentor, friend, disciple and guide is excited about learning from God’s Word. That excitement can become contagious. David wrote in Psalm 1,
Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. 3 He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper. (Ps. 1:1-3 NKJ)
That delight is learned. That meditation must be practiced with great patience. A spiritual infant has neither one, but can learn from a patient spiritual parent.
Fourthly, he must purpose to hide God’s Word in his heart. The Psalmist wrote,
How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. 10 With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! 11 Your word I have hidden in my heart. (Ps. 119:9-11 NKJ)
The spiritual infant needs time to learn and grow. He needs to learn simple Bible verses to memorize.
Fifthly, the spiritual infant needs to learn the difference between milk and solid food. The spiritual infant needs the milk, but before he becomes a spiritual child, he needs to learn the basics of eating solid food and feeding himself. Paul wrote about spiritual infants, who did not know how to act or feed themselves,
And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. 2 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; 3 for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? (1 Cor. 3:1-3 NKJ)
When the spiritual infant begins to feed himself in a quiet time and Bible reading, then he’ll learn discernment of what is good and what is not.
Sixthly, he needs to pursue the word like a baby pursues milk. Peter wrote, “…as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby.” (1 Pet. 2:2 NKJ) Milk is great for a baby! Let the baby rejoice in someone feeding him milk! He needs to slowly learn the blessing of having a regular and consistent quiet time with the Lord, so he can learn to feed himself and grow by means of the Holy Spirit, when another person is not readily available.
There are many tools available for helps in a quiet time. “Our Daily Bread” is a great story that has a life story, a related passage, a suggested reading portion of Scripture and a short quip that focuses the reader on Jesus Christ. There are other solid devotional readings like Oswald Chamber’s “My Utmost for His Highest.” There are also online devotionals that can be sent to an email account. Of course, there are also many daily Bible reading plans obtained from a quick internet search.
Spiritual infants need a spiritual parent to come alongside to help them develop regular devotional readings.