1 Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. 2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.
1 Peter 2:1-3
Sometimes certain groups of people get known for loving certain types of food.
Kids love Happy Meals. Cops love doughnuts and coffee. College kids love ramen and cold pizza. Italians love pasta. Hispanics love tacos. Southerners loved pulled pork. Lutherans love bratwurst. And southern Lutherans loved bratwurst topped with pulled pork. (Ok, maybe not every stereotype holds true.)
What stereotypical food do the people of God crave? And I’m not talking about physical food like coffee and doughnuts on a Sunday morning or a chili supper on a Wednesday evening. But what is the stereotypical food of choice for believers?
Perhaps even more importantly, what is your spiritual food of choice? If you asked your unbelieving friends what your spiritual food of choice was, what do you think they’d say? A quiet day in the park? A nice book? Yoga?
In today’s lesson, the Apostle Peter tells us exactly what the people of God should crave. It isn’t physical food for the body. It’s food for the soul. Take a look at chapter 2:1. "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."
I. What Not to Crave
First, Peter mentions what not to crave. In fact, rather than craving it, he tells you get rid of these things from your life. It’s like raiding your fridge and finding a leftover casserole that has grown mold and smells awfully unappetizing. You throw that casserole out. All of it! You don’t save some for later, it’s unhealthy and really dangerous!
In the same way, throw out the following from your spiritual life! They are unhealthy and dangerous. Peter calls them, “malice.” That’s the general heading for all of these unhealthy spiritual practices. It means “evil.”
But then Peter gets into specifics. Here is a list of four extremely unhealthy (sinful) attitudes for your soul:
The Greek word for deceit actually has its origins in the word for fish bait. It involved into the meaning in verse 1 because of the trickery involved. You trick others and bait them into doing something for you or bait you into getting something.
Usually deceit happens when you want two entirely opposite things. You can’t stand not having them both, so you deceive into getting them.
At first, you might feel healthy with deceit. You’ve gotten what you want. But you’ve also gotten something that you didn’t want. An invisible wall of secrecy around your life. Anxiety of getting found out. Nervousness that the lie may be exposed. And the foolish assumption that God, who sees all and knows all, isn’t aware of your deception?
Deceit is unhealthy. It’s sinful. Get rid of Deceit from your life!
Hypocrisy is the next attitude to throw out. It has the idea of clothing yourself. It means to pretend you are something you’re not. To play act.
It’s like a child playing dress-up. They put on a Superman costume and pretend they are Superman, even telling people they are Superman, when they are not.
Do you nourish your soul with hypocrisy? Hypocrisy usually exists to feed our desire for approval. Think about it.
But Hypocrisy isn’t healthy. It leaves you feeling vulnerable. You have to remember how to act with which friends. If by chance you mess it up and let slip your opinions to the wrong crowd, they’ll be more upset with you than if you had simply told the truth. (Imagine telling the NC State fan that you watched the UNC game last night and you are so happy with how well the Tarheels played!)
The biggest problem of course is that hypocrisy fails to aim at getting God’s approval. God who reads the heart not the exterior of a person. It can even be strong enough that you fool yourself into thinking that you’re ok with God despite what you’ve said and done against him.
Hypocrisy is unhealthy. It’s sinful. Get rid of hypocrisy from your life!
Another word might be ‘jealousy.’ This word describes our desire for more. The more we fill ourselves with jealously, the more you fill yourself with discontent. And the more discontent you are the more upset you are with God!
Think about all the things in this world that feed envy.
Why is envy so bad? Because it feeds discontentment. Discontentment with others. “I wish you were more like this.” But more than that, it leads to discontentment with God.
“God, what were you thinking? This isn’t the spouse I wanted. It isn’t the body I wanted. It isn’t the house I deserve. It isn’t even the TV that I think is best. What’s your deal?”
You’ll drive a stake between your heavenly Father and you. That definitely isn’t healthy!
Envy is unhealthy. It’s sinful. Get rid of envy from your life!
The final thing to throw out is slander. Slander is an attack. A verbal attack. And it’s an attack that can take place on others, even if they aren’t there. It can be true or untrue, but it’s purpose is to harm, not to help. Slander doesn’t feed your soul though. It only feeds your desire for status. Think about it:
Here’s the problem. Slander doesn’t improve you one bit. When people call you out on it, you will lose relationships with others. Who wants to tell you their secrets, if you are only going to use that against them later?
Ultimately, it ruins your relationship with God. It says, “God I don’t trust you to take care of me on your own, so I will use vengeful and spiteful means against another one of your children just to take care of myself.”
Slander is unhealthy! It’s sinful. Throw it out of your life.
Now we live in an America that is so health conscience. Organic. Local. Cage free. Are all buzzwords to gravitate towards, while gmo, saturated fats, and Red Dye Number whatever are to be avoided like the plague.
Do you care that much about what you feed your soul? If not, repent! Avoid such things that induce sinful attitudes like the plague! Be picky about everything that you put into your soul.
Because God is picky.
He wants nothing to do with sin. When he looks down on the earth and he finds people filled with the wickedness of sin, the LORD will throw them out of His kingdom.
Out of his kingdom and into hell.
Therefore, hunger for something that is healthy, something that is pure, something that saves your soul.
II. What to Hunger For
Newborn babies. They are so cute, but they are very much in need of nourishment. They need to be fed. And they are usually fed by their mother. In fact, once they are fed by their mother, they won’t accept anything else but milk from their mother.
This is the way Peter tells us to crave healthy spiritual drink. Listen to what he writes in verse 2, “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk.”
And there’s a bit of a word missing in the English, because the Greek doesn’t have a word that necessarily is translatable. It’s an important word too, because God is not telling all Christians – even the lactose intolerant Christians - to buy “spirit milk” at the store and drink it.
The word that’s missing is translated, “by nature of the Word.” Thus – crave the milk of God’s Word is the main point.
Why crave the Word? What benefits does it have? Listen to the three reasons in the text:
1) It’s for Salvation.
Scripture says drink this milk so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.
Interesting too. Because the FDA loves to tell you how healthy food is for you. All the Vitamin C you need. High in Fiber. High in Calcium.
If you God’s Holy Word were to have a nutritional label on it, it would read 100% of the Grace that you need. 100% of the Salvation you need. 100% of the Gospel you need. 100% of the Peace that you need. Guaranteed to get you to heaven!
Because the Bible says this: We all are sinners. Not a single one of us can make it to heaven on our own. Not by eating a steady diet of deceit, hyprocrisy, envy, and slander.
But Jesus died to save us from those sins. He died to save us from their awful effects. He died to save us from hell. He died that you might live eternally in the peace of heaven!
TRUTH IS: You can eat an apple everyday. You’ll still die. You can eat an organic apple everyday. You’ll still die. But, if you eat and ingest the message of Jesus as your Savior, you will not die, but live—eternally at that!
Believe it! This is what God’s Word says.
2) It Causes you to Grow.
Think about what might happen if you didn’t feed a newborn. It’s a sad thought, but it would become weak and die. But that’s not just true with newborns it is true with anyone else. Teenagers need food to survive. So do young adults. So do the middle aged. So do the elderly.
We all need food for our bodies to live.
You all need spiritual food for your life in Jesus to live too.
In fact Peter writes, “you will grow in salvation.” The truth is that if you eat God’s Word, you will grow. You will grow to combat doubts of this life. You will grow to love sin less and less. You will grow in your ability to fight off temptation and lead a God pleasing life. You will grow in your peace—a daily peace that gets you through the struggles of day to day life.
But you won’t grow without the Word! Drop any prideful idea that says otherwise. You need God and you need his nourishment in his word. Whether you are a brand new Christian or a long time member of the church, your faith needs God’s Word to live and then to grow!
3) It tastes Good.
Finally Peter tells us of the final reason to hunger for God’s Word. He writes, “For you have tasted that the Lord is Good.”
The thing about healthy stuff is that it doesn’t always taste that good. I’m sorry, but I would love to have a bad pizza over good brussel sprouts anyday. It just tastes that much better.
What’s awesome about God’s Word is how wonderful it tastes! Sure, it has a sharp foretastes – it tells us about sin and our inability to get to heaven on our own.
But then consider how sweet the Gospel is. Here’s just a few choice morsels:
Brothers and sisters, there it is. There I nothing more nourishing to your soul than the pure Word of God.
This week crave it. Here’s a challenge. Spend time in God’s Word. Try one of the Gospels. Open up to the Gospel of Mark. It’s not too long. 16 chapters. Probably an hour tops. Open up to the Gospel of Mark and read it! Take a break from filling your soul with the text messages, the TV shows, the movies, the emails, the technological whatevers.
Instead, fill your soul with the nourishing life giving Word.
Because man…is it GOOD!