Sojourn: Toward an Enduring City
2:1 So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. 2 Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation—3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.
4 As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, 5 you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright (c)2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. http://www.esv.org
Like it or not, costumes are everywhere this week: schools, offices, and an endless sprawl of social media feeds. It's big business too: Americans are projected to spend over $7 billion on costumes this year! Too often, we treat growing in Christ as an exercise in "dressing up." We focus on improving the external: what we say, what we do, and sometimes even how we dress. But in 1 Peter 2:1-5, the Apostle Peter reminds us that to "grow up into salvation" is not a matter of what goes on us, but what goes in us.
Peter says that what should go in us is "the pure spiritual milk (1 Peter 2:2)." Peter uses this nutritional metaphor to connect to what he has just been saying about the characteristics of God's Word (1 Peter 1:23-25). Because it is living, abiding, and the very source of our salvation, God's Word is like food for our souls. And because we are weak and wayward, our response to God's Word should be to long for it eagerly and dependently, like an infant child longs for their mother's milk.
This idea of a physical longing for God's Word is not unique to Peter, but is a deep theme throughout the Bible. Peter was undoubtedly familiar with the extended, artistic poetry of Psalm 119. Referring to God's Word with a variety of descriptive terms (statutes, rules, testimonies, commandments, law, word, precepts), the psalmist speaks of longing for God's Word (119:20, 40, 174), tasting God's Word (119:43, 103), and hungering and thirsting for God's Word (119:131). And of course, Peter would have known Jesus own words, that man's bread is the Word of God (Matthew 4:4).
All of this demands from us a response of simple but profound self-reflection: do we long for God's Word in this way? Do we understand and appreciate its truth, wisdom, and beauty? Do we really know and feel our need for it? If not, how do we cultivate this in ourselves? The answer is equally simple but profound: read it. After all, we will not hunger for that which we have not tasted and found to be good. So if you find your longing for God's Word to be weak, or in competition with other longings, give yourself time to read and meditate on God's Word. And pray for God to do the work only He can do, and to give you the faith of an infant child who longs, more and more as they grow, for the "pure spiritual milk" of God's Word.