"Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and
all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn
babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your
salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good." (1 Peter
As a breeder of Lineolated Parakeets, getting up at in the wee hours of the morning to hand-feed baby birds has become commonplace. 14 day-old linnies generally adapt to hand-feeding rather quickly, and so it was with two of the first three babies I pulled from the nests this Spring. After just a day, Chibi and Merlin were readily taking the spoon, alerting to the sounds of feeding preparations, and despite the fact that I looked nothing at all like a mother bird, in no time their little crops were like balloons nearing their bursting point.
Not so with Pitrie. Pitrie was far too smart for handfeeding. He new perfectly well that the cold, hard spoon looked and felt nothing like a mother bird. As for the "stuff" on it? Well, it was the wrong color, the wrong consistency, and definitely too cold. But if we heated it up, then it was too hot! Bottom line, it tasted nothing in the world like "birdie vomit" (the special food parent birds prepare in their crops to regurgitate into the open mouths of their babies), and he wanted no part of it.
His response to what he surely thought of as "nonsense" was to stubbornly turn his head away from the spoon. If I persisted in getting a tiny drop into his mouth, he would venomously spit it back at me. After the third day, feeding Pitrie still took nearly 20 minutes, and even then, his little crop was still floppy.
As he was spitting the formula back out at me at 4 a.m. of day four of his hand-feeding routine, I couldn't help but think how much these baby birds were like baby Christians. As new Christians, we are literally pulled out of the only world we've ever known and thrown into a completely foreign one. The only problem is, we continue to physically live in the old world!
The early apostles refer to Christians as "aliens" and "strangers" (see 1 Peter 2:11, Heb 11:13). This is because although we continue to live in it, the old world no longer accepts or understands us. In order to survive as "aliens" and "strangers" in a world that was once our home, we are told to: "rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind." (1 Peter 2:1). We need to separate ourselves from the "birdie vomit" of the world. We need to leave behind the old lives of addictions and anger and unforgiveness, and to do so, we have to stop feeding ourselves with the things of the world. Instead, we are told to crave spiritual things: "Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good." (1 Peter 2:2-3).
For some, the feeding process is a pleasure. Just like Merlin and Chibi readily took to hand-feeding, some new Christians eagerly drink in the Word of God, taking every opportunity to spend time with their new-found Friend. They read their Bibles, they attend Bible studies, they take in the Word spoken from the pulpit, they immerse themselves in Christian books and movies and music, and they immediately recognize how much better their lives have become.
Not so with every new Christian. Just like Pitrie, who fought the feeding process, many turn away from any type of spiritual food, desperately clinging to the world. "Church is boring," they say. "Why can't the Bible be written in understandable terms?" And "What am I going to gain from praying to someone I can't even see?"
By the end of day four, I was seriously worried about Pitrie. If he continued to refuse the spoon, I would be forced to return him to the nest, back to the "birdie vomit", in order to keep him from dying of malnutrition. But the story has a better ending than that. When I got up at 4 a.m. on day 5, he willingly took the spoon. Whew!
Pitrie is now 12 weeks old. As I was in the process of preparing his crate yesterday for his upcoming plane trip to Calgary, his new home, I realized that he had turned into one of the sweetest babies we have ever raised. Why? Because he gave up his "birdie vomit" and accepted the spoon. Only when new Christians give up the world and accept the sweet, pure food of the Word of God will they grow to maturity. Otherwise, they will simply return to the world they came from.
What will it be, friends? The "birdie vomit" the world dishes out? Or the pure, sweet "milk" of God's Spirit? Let's give up our "Pitrie" ways and become more like Chibi and Merlin!
In His love,
Lyn Chaffart, Author and Moderator, The Nugget, Scriptural Nuggets (www.scripturalnuggets.org ), part of Answers2Prayer ministries (www.answers2prayer.org )