Failure to Thrive

Keith McMahon

The little reminder sign over the incubator in the newborn nursery simply said “FTT.” A medical acronym for “failure to thrive.” Failure to thrive is a fairly common medical condition of varying causes and has been associated with adverse effects on later growth and cognitive development. Simply put, often when a newborn is experiencing stress they will sometimes develop feeding issues, and therefore have a lower caloric intake, which in turn can lead to growth and development problems. Babies need to sense peace and security if they are to have an appetite for their mother’s milk or they risk developing feeding and growth problems.

It’s been many years since I’ve worked with newborn babies as a Respiratory Therapist, but I’ve not forgotten the importance of the need for handling these precious little ones extra gently, minimizing their stress so that their nutritional health could be optimized.

In much the same way, God has told us that we must first lay aside the kind of stress-inducing attitudes that will keep us from being at peace with those around us so that in turn we will desire to take in the “sincere milk of the Word”, in order that we might grow.
“Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.” 1 Peter 2:1-3.

In this passage Peter dealt with the very things that will surely cause us to lose our appetite for the sincere milk of the Word. In effect, the very things that would cause “FTT” in God’s people, hinder our spiritual growth and development. Notice what we are to lay aside:

1. Malice – wicked ill will towards others.
2. Guile – all forms of dishonesty.
3. Hypocrisy – pretending to be what one is not.
4. Envy – jealousy based on discontentment.
5. Evil Speakings – gossip and insulting slander.

When these terrible attitudes are present in our lives, they not only cause us to lack peace and experience stress, they greatly diminish our appetite for God’s truth. Along with that, these attitudes represent spite for those in our lives who perhaps desperately need to see the reality of God’s Word at work in us. The bottom line is simply this. If these attitudes are present, we’re really not going to be thirsty for the sincere milk of the Word and we’re not going to be growing. Our immediate spiritual health is affected and our long-term growth and development is jeopardized.

We grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18) as we take in the sincere milk of the Word, having tasted that the Lord is gracious. (1 Peter 2:1-3)

May God bless you with much grace and rich growth this summer!

Post by: Keith McMahon, NBBI Faculty

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