I’m the proud father of a 4-year-old daughter and a 1-month-old son.
Abigail is full of energy and never stops talking.
Wesley does a lot of sleeping, crying, and eating.
Abigail has a knack for breaking things thought unbreakable, interrupting a conversation, and the potential temper tantrum. Wesley has a knack for avoiding naps and forcing you to change your shirt at inconvenient times.
On most days – days when our patience levels are high – we find it all cute. After all, she’s four and he’s only been alive a month. They are doing things you’d expect them to do.
Yet, imagine Abigail exhibiting the same behavior when she’s 10 or 16 or 20 or 25. Suddenly such behavior isn’t so cute. Eventually, a four-year-old must grow up. Imagine Wesley exhibiting the same behavior when he’s 10 or 16 or 20 or 25. Not so cute. Eventually, a 1-month-old must grow up.
Likewise – God does not want you years down in the road in your faith journey still acting like a baby. God wants you to grow up spiritually.
Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.
– 1 Peter 2:1-3
The metaphor of an infant connects back to new birth introduced in 1 Peter 1:3. Jesus and Jesus Christ alone gives us birth into living hope. Jesus and Jesus Christ alone gives us birth into abundant life on earth and eternal life in Heaven. Yet, we must grow up in that salvation. Just like a newborn baby begins to walk, to talk, to grow into a toddler, a kindergartener, a preteen, and teenager – so does the person of faith. We must grow up.
Along with this spiritual growth comes signs of spiritual growth. Peter instructs that some things need to be removed from our life. The imperative to “rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of all kind” is a living out of 1 Peter 1:22. You can’t deceive when you love deeply. You can’t slander when you love deeply.
Malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. That’s behavior of a 4-year-old follower of Jesus. You can fill in your own list of vices, temptations, failures, and hang-ups. Peter calls the church to action: Grow up.
Why? You should grow because you have “tasted that the Lord is good.”
That’s the big question: Have you tasted that the Lord is good? Or are you simply living off the faith of those around you? Or are you merely going through the motions?
Maturity happens through craving spiritual milk.
What is spiritual milk? Those things that feed and nurture your faith.
There’s no better image for me with a 1-month-old in the house. When he’s hungry – nothing else will do. He craves it. He will not calm down until he’s fed. Likewise – we should crave spiritual milk. Now some things destroy and decay our faith. Avoid those. Crave spiritual milk.
I’ll give more details on spiritual milk in a future post.