Friday, August 03, 2012

Spiritual Lactation

Spiritual Lactation

Breastfeeding, also known as nursing or sucking, is the feeding of an infant or young child with breast milk directly from female human breasts (i.e., via lactation) rather than from a baby bottle or other container. Babies have a sucking reflex that enables them to suck and swallow milk.  Below are some of the many benefits of breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding helps defend against infections, prevent allergies, and protect against a number of chronic conditions by contributing to the infant's immune system by increasing the barriers to infection and decreasing the growth of organisms like bacteria and viruses..   So, it follows that as a group, breastfed babies have fewer infections and hospitalizations than formula-fed infants.  So, women who breastfeed are less likely to have to take time off from work to care for their sick babies.

Breast milk provides ideal nourishment.  It is often called the "perfect food" for a human baby's digestive system; breast milk's components are easily digested by a newborn's immature system.  So it is no surprise that as a group, breastfed infants have less difficulty with digestion than do formula-fed infants; this leads to have fewer incidences of diarrhea or constipation. Breast milk also naturally contains many of the vitamins and minerals that a newborn requires.   

Breastfeeding can be convenient and it doesn't cost a cent.  With no last-minute runs to the store for more formula, breast milk is always fresh and available. And when women breastfeeds, there's no need to warm up bottles in the middle of the night. It's also easy for breastfeeding mothers to be active — and go out and about — with their babies and know that they'll have food available for whenever their little one is hungry. 

Breastfeeding also burns calories and helps shrink the uterus, so nursing moms may be able to return to their pre-pregnancy shape and weight quicker. In addition, studies show that breastfeeding helps lower the risk of various diseases, such as: breast cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and of uterine and ovarian cancer.   

Last, but not least, nursing is a wonderful experience for both mother and baby since it can create a special bonding experience that many nursing mothers cherish.  Many nursing mothers really enjoy the experience of bonding so closely with their babies because the skin-to-skin contact can enhance the emotional connection between mother and infant.

The apostle Paul, on occasion, wrote to those whom He brought to Christ, in terms of giving birth to them (Galatians 4: 19) or nursing them (1 Thessalonians 2: 7).   Just as the bond created between the nursing child and the mother is strong, so was Paul’s bond with those whom he taught.  Peter said that as “newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2).  Evidently, Paul saw similarities between nursing a baby and bringing a convert to Christ.  Let us enumerate a few.

The mother can only give the baby the milk she has.  What this means is that, if she is healthy the baby will get good milk, and if she is sick or partakes on drugs or alcohol she could give the baby infected or toxic milk.  A teacher with a perverted Gospel will only give its students the perverted Gospel he has.  But, the teacher with the right gospel will give its students the precious truth as it is in Jesus.  Those who have been breastfed the Gospel of truth, have no need of other gospels.  Just like breast milk is the perfect food for the infant.  The Gospel of truth is the perfect Spiritual food for all men.  No need to spend money and effort in spiritual cow milk or formula.  Also, since, the taste of the food she eats will affect the breast milks taste, and the baby that breast feeds eats vicariously what his mother eats, the child will get used to that taste.  Once, the spiritual child get use to the flavor of the True Gospel, when grown (s)he will continue to like the truth and prefer it over any other heresies that comes his or her way. 

The nursing mother nurses her child for about three years.  The first few months the child only breastfeeds, after this the child eats solid food and breast feeds, until eventually the child is weaned.  This means that the mother has to make herself available to this child for all this time.  Likewise, Paul made himself available to his new converts for a period of time until he was certain they were established in the truth.  When Paul could not remain with them, he would send emissaries to check in, as he did with Timothy, and or corresponded with them via letters.  At any chance he asked about them. 

Now, Paul expected the new converts to grow spiritually and one day be weaned spiritually.  Great was his disappointment when converts whom he thought should be old enough to be eating only spiritual solid food - and not dependent on their spiritual mother - were still not weaned out of Spiritual milk.  Such was the case with the Corinthians and the Hebrews (1 Corinthians 3: 2: Hebrews 5: 12 -13).

Just as breastfeeding also benefits the mother, teaching and preaching the Gospel also helps the teacher.  The teacher hears what he speaks, thus reinforcing what (s)he already knows.  This keeps the teacher’s knowledge of the Lord fresh and active; keeping the teacher from spiritual diseases. 

We can see why Paul used that analogy of nursing (and giving birth).  Paul suffered much for the preaching of the Gospel.  So, those whom he brought to Christ were precious to Him, because it was with great pains and opposition that he was able to teach them.  Paul gave Himself as much as Christ gave Himself to us.  How could he do this?  He loved as God loved.   The Lord said, that even when some mothers forget their children He never will forget them (Isaiah 49: 15).  This is the kind of love that Paul had for those whom he preached to.