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“Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.” – 1 Peter 2:1-3
“The pure milk of the word.” Sounds like God is prescribing a healthier diet for His kids. No more indulging in the unhealthy junk food of ill will, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and evil speaking about others, which includes gossiping. Instead, only the pure word of God.
Have you ever given any real thought to what “food” we’re feasting on? Are we feasting on envy, gossip, and deceit? I’m not just talking about what we read or watch on TV or in movies either. How about what we talk about with others?
All of us know in our heads that God does not approve of gossip, and we even say we don’t do it. Maybe we listen to other people gossip, but we don’t pass it on…to anyone unreliable. We don’t say things to be mean to others; we just say them because we feel someone else really should know…The list of reasons can go on into infinity. But is it acceptable to God? Is that the kind of food God wants us to partake of?
Besides repeating gossip, listening to it does nothing to help us grow spiritually. Both only serve to strengthen ill will, deceit, hypocrisy, and envy. And that’s what this text in 1 Peter is all about. What will make us grow? Will desiring that evil befall another draw me into a closer relationship with Jesus? Will dishonest statements or misrepresentations of the truth help me to know the One who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life better? Does focusing on the hypocrisies of others or even indulging my own make me a more genuine follower of Jesus Christ? Will coveting another make me more content in all the situations God places me? And can malicious words, spoken about someone else either by me or in my presence, help me to be more deeply rooted in the Savior? Is this the kind of food that will root me and ground me in the love of God?
The only food we can safely eat is the word of God. Feasting on the word of God will take away bitterness, hard feelings, ill will, covetousness, hypocrisy, selfishness, and all gossip and backbiting.
It also helps us discern between truth and error in what we hear in church or read in a book. In the Bible, God gives us a lot of instruction about knowing the truth, knowing whether what you hear is of God or not. He tells us to test the spirit behind each person who comes to us in the name of the Lord (1 John 4:1). He says to examine all things and hold fast to the good (1 Thess. 5:21). And those are just two examples, but clearly, God wants us to check things out against His word, instead of just buying into everything that comes from the mouth of a fellow human being just because he or she claims Christianity. The Bereans were commended by Paul for not accepting his preaching without first testing it against the Bible (Acts 17:11). So we are to know the difference between truth and error, and be willing to counter error with truth (James 5:19-20, Is. 58:1, Jer. 1:7, Ez. 2:3-5, and Ps. 40:10, to name a few).
When we feast on the pure milk of God’s word, we will be able to recognize and avoid hypocrisy, half-truths, and whole lies. Just as an expert in recognizing counterfeit money studies the true to recognize the counterfeit, we who feast on the true will recognize the error when it comes. The more we feast on the word of God, the less desire we will have for feasting on the sins, short-comings, and failings of others. We will grow in Christ-like love, patience, and forgiveness towards others. And we will clearly know the difference between speaking the truth as God desires and merely spreading gossip as Satan desires.
So the idea is this: get into the word of God. Make that your food. Leave behind the junk food and feast on the words of life and truth so you can grow up strong in Christ.
~ What do you think? Email me at TheNarrowPathway@hotmail.com. ~