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 (1Peter 2:1-3).
The New Year is the right time to think through some things. God likens new believers to newborn babes. When we are born again by the Spirit of God, we have new life, a new destiny, a new appetite…and new problems.
Sometimes new Christians don’t do well; do not have the things that will cause them to grow. Some people have been saved 40 years that are still babes in Christ. That is not a slur but a fact. The milk of the Word is in contrast to the meat of the Word (1Cor.3:2) Meat is suitable only for Christians that have grown in the Lord and are able to digest heavier food.
God places something before the milk of the word. Before we can have success in Bible living, God lays out five things that have to be shucked off like removing a jacket in a hot room. We are to lay aside malice, guile, hypocrisies, envies, and evil speaking. Talk about going on a crash diet! Some of these things are as tasty as Snicker bars.
MALICE is an evil-spirited attitude toward someone that’s just looking for an opportunity to snipe and growl. Guile is speaking something that sounds good but covers up something harmful underneath. Hypocrisy is playacting. Playing a character as in a play on a stage; not really that person. Envy is a feeling of covetousness of another person's position or success. Evil speaking is the habit of running people down, backbiting.
We can immediately determine to rid ourselves of these things. In practice, it may take time to change our habits; going back to the Lord repeatedly to ask for His forgiveness and strength to conquer these sins. We must do it if we want to grow from the milk of the Word.
Sixty years ago, I memorized verses 2 and 3 as part of the Navigator’s course. For several years I never noticed verse 1. I reviewed and quoted verses 2 & 3 hundreds of times. One day when I was just reading that chapter and saw verse 1, it was sobering. Spiritually, it was like getting struck by lightning! I kept coming back to it and realized increasingly that without making the changes in verse 1, it was virtually impossible to make any progress in verses 2 and 3.
God saves us free of charge, but He wants us to eventually be like His Son. He saves us in our sins, but He will not leave us in our sins. If we want to grow from the milk of the word of God He requires a radical change in our lives. If we have laid aside the repulsive five garments and acquired a desire for the simple milk of the word of God, then we will have tasted that the Lord is gracious. The Lord, whose nature it is to be gracious in His dealings with us.
Our text follows important verses in chapter 1. I urge you to read 1Peter 1. We are going on a journey in these verses right on through chapter two. You will be blessed greatly if you will take the time to read the first two chapters to review your relationship to the Lord and then you will be in good shape to move on to chapter 3, into human relationships.
I’ve spent many years of my life listening to sad tales from hurting people and handing Kleenex to catch the tears. We pay an awful price trying to get through life on our own without getting these things in order. We humans want other people to change their lives, so we won’t have to. We like anger and selfishness and being in charge and it’s the very set of things that God wants to change in our lives.
Nothing will help us as quickly as dying to self, humbling our hearts, and a daily diet of the Word of God. Today is a good day to start. (Photo at top is Henry Hampton, son of Matthew and Jamie Hampton.)
Read Through the Bible in a Year
DECEMBER 29, 2017 - FRIDAY
A.M. Zechariah 10-12 P.M. Revelation 20
(Bible Gateway will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.)
A Good Verse to Memorize:
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. (Jeremiah 29:11)
Song for Today:
Rock of Ages (4:03) (Vestal Goodman, The Martins and Gaither Group)
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Note: I won’t be surprised to hear this song in Heaven! Who will sing it? Who won’t be allowed to sing it?