Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
August 25, 1960

Spiritual Food

H. Leo Boles

There is a close analogy between the sustaining of the physical body and the spiritual man. The same terms are often used in the Bible as applying to both. "Food" and "drink" and "exercise" are terms which are applied to the physical body, and these same terms are applied to our spiritual nature. There is an analogy between the laws which govern the growth of our physical bodies and laws which regulate our spiritual growth. The laws of our physical nature must be obeyed in order that a strong, vigorous physical body may be maintained. It is essentially necessary that the laws regulating our spiritual being be obeyed if joy and peace are to be had.

Jesus said: "Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness." (Matt. 5: 6) There must be a hungering and thirsting after righteousness. This applies to our spiritual nature. There must be a strong desire for that which maintains righteousness. There must be an insatiate thirst for righteousness with the child of God if one is to become strong in the Lord and in the power of his might. That which satisfies the hungering for righteousness may be called "spiritual food;" that which satisfies the thirsting after righteousness may be called "spiritual drink." These terms show that our spiritual nature is regulated by similar laws to those of our physical being. Jesus knew our nature, and he has so spoken of the spiritual nature in terms of "hunger" and "thirst."

Peter, speaking by the Holy Spirit, says to God's people: "As newborn babes, long for the spiritual milk which is without guile, that ye may grow thereby unto salvation; if ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious." (1 Pet. 2: 2, 3) Here God's people are instructed to "long for the spiritual milk." This is another way of expressing hunger. To long for anything is to have a yearning desire for that thing. Our spiritual nature is represented as longing for spiritual food. Here the food is in the term of "spiritual milk" which is "without guile." or hypocrisy. The spiritual food must not be adulterated if it is to satisfy the longing of our spiritual nature. There is something wrong with our spiritual condition if it is not longing for the spiritual milk or food which is necessary for spiritual life and growth. One ought to be alarmed at one's spiritual condition if there is not a longing for spiritual food. God's people cannot grow unto salvation without this spiritual food. There is no way to reach salvation — eternal salvation — without satisfying the longing of our spiritual nature with the "spiritual milk which is without guile."

The writer of the Hebrew letter rebukes some of the people of God for not being strong and for not being able to take "solid food." He says: "For when by reason of time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need again that some one teach you the rudiments of the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of solid food. For every one that partaketh of milk is without experience of the word of righteousness; for he is a babe. But solid food is for full-grown men, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern good and evil." (Heb. 5: 12-14) Here we have spiritual food spoken of as "milk" and "solid food." The young are represented as taking "milk." The babes are fed on milk; it is the only food that babes can take. "Solid food" is for adults, or those who have passed from the state of infancy to that of childhood or manhood. Again, we have emphasis put on spiritual food. Spiritual milk may be found in the word of God for the babes, but there is also "solid food" in the word of God for those who are mature in experience and age in the service of God. Again, the emphasis is placed on the need of spiritual food. There will never be a time when God's people will not have to sustain spiritual life by taking spiritual food. As physical life is sustained with physical food and drink, sr, spiritual life is sustained by spiritual food and drink. We see the absolute necessity of spiritual food. If babes in Christ do not take the "spiritual milk," they will remain weaklings spiritually; but if they satisfy their spiritual nature by taking spiritual food, they will grow and soon develop a hunger for "solid food."

The spiritual food is to be found in the word of God. If you "have tasted that the Lord is gracious," then you should continue until the spiritual nature is satisfied. Jesus said: "It is the spirit that giveth life; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I have spoken unto you are spirit, and are life." (John 6: 63) Peter said to the Lord: "Thou hast the words of eternal life." (Verse 68) The word of God is represented as being the spiritual food for the Lord's people. In order that we may appropriate it to our spiritual need, we must study it. The child of God should study the Bible daily. It is the only source of spiritual food. Many read the literature of man, which is filled with the theories of man and the vain imaginations of the human heart; but this has no spiritual food for the child of God. Our spiritual nature will perish if we read nothing but human productions or books written by man. All church members ought to know that the word of God is the only spiritual food that can satisfy the hunger and longing of our spiritual nature. The sooner we learn this and the sooner we develop a desire to study the word of God and feast upon it daily, the sooner we will pass from infancy to that of mature manhood in Christ Jesus. It is a strange condition of heart and life for a member of the church not to want the spiritual food found in the word of God. There is something woefully wrong with the spiritual nature that is not longing for spiritual food.