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Learning to Digest Tough Meat

Some cuts of meat are naturally tougher than others.  Depending upon the amount of muscle, connective tissue, and fat, pieces of meat will vary from tender to tough.  Brisket, chuck roast, round and shank cuts of meat are tough to chew.  Meanwhile, Porterhouse, rib-eyes, sirloin and T-bone steak cuts are tender. The toughest cuts of meat have a lot of connective tissue and come from a heavily exercised muscle.  While the wealthy may skip these types of cuts completely, middle class meat lovers need to learn how to chew and digest tough meat.

So put aside every trace of malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander and hateful speech; like newborn babies [you should] long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may be nurtured and grow in respect to salvation [its ultimate fulfillment], if in fact you have [already] tasted the goodness and gracious kindness of the Lord, 1 Peter 2:1-3.

One of Jesus’ disciples uses the analogy of a newborn baby to illustrate a spiritual truth.  At birth infants are dependent upon their mothers, relying on breast milk as their only source of food.  Over the first few years of life, mothers will eventually wean their children off of breast milk to transition toward fruit and vegetables.  As babies grow and mature into children, teeth will enable them to learn how to chew and digest meat.  To avoid the threat of choking, parents usually take their time, allowing children to slowly perfect the art of chewing meat before swallowing.

Therefore let us get past the elementary stage in the teachings about the Christ, advancing on to maturity and perfection and spiritual completeness, [doing this] without laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of teaching about washings (ritual purifications), the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. [These are all important matters in which you should have been proficient long ago.] And we will do this [that is, proceed to maturity], if God permits. For [it is impossible to restore to repentance] those who have once been enlightened [spiritually] and who have tasted and consciously experienced the heavenly gift and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted and consciously experienced the good word of God and the powers of the age (world) to come, and then have fallen away—it is impossible to bring them back again to repentance, since they again nail the Son of God on the cross [for as far as they are concerned, they are treating the death of Christ as if they were not saved by it], and are holding Him up again to public disgrace, Hebrews 6:1-6.

The Old Testament uses the phrase to chew the cud to encourage believers to meditate upon the Word of God, slowing digesting the context and meaning of biblical words.  The New Testament compares eating meat to spiritual maturity.  The older you become, the more your life should reflect spiritual development and growth.  Yet, when responding to first century questions asked by his disciples, Jesus never gives someone an answer.  Rather, Jesus forces his followers to think for themselves with an end goal of becoming spiritually mature, Matthew 9:10-13.  However, when individuals backslide in their faith, reverting to basic elementary teachings, God expects more.  The Bible is full of complex and difficult teachings that require time to digest.  Therefore, if you want to reach your full potential as a follower of Christ, it’s time to start digesting tough spiritual meat.

by Jay Mankus

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