Thursday, May 14, 2009
Current Study: First Peter
Today’s Topic: Eat Well
Scripture Reading: 1 Peter 2:1-3 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.
Today is one of my favorite days of the year. I’m up early so I can start the day right by spending time with my Savior and Lord. I’ll grab some breakfast around 7, and then I’ll head to Hillcrest Country Club for a day of fellowship with men and women who are committed to sharing the Good News of Jesus with the youth of the Chippewa Valley. We have made calls and sent out letters to raise money for Young Life, a youth ministry that reaches students through small group Bible studies. I love what they do, and I love the team of people who support it.
When I get to the course around 7:30, I’ll head to the driving range to review the fundamentals of my swing. I’ll spend lots of time on the putting green to review the basics of putting and chipping. I deeply understand the necessity of review. There are certain fundamentals that serve as foundations that have to be in place for everything else about the game of golf to work right. I’ll spend time in review this morning.
Peter reminds us to review in today’s Scripture passage. He starts with a word that demands review – therefore. Someone once said that whenever you see the word therefore, go back and look at what was just said so you know what is about to be said is there for. Let’s review what Peter has just said prior to chapter two. His emphasis was on two things – sincere love for others and the Word of God, which he described as living and enduring. If you want to review those subjects more deeply, read the devotionals from Monday and Tuesday.
With the foundation laid in our lives of God’s Word and our obedience to its truth, Peter says that we are to get rid of anything that contradicts those fundamentals.
- Malice – the desire to do harm to another person because of our anger – contradicts the fundamental of love for others.
- Deceit – a term used to describe a decoy intended to ensnare in a trap – contradicts the fundamental of sincerity.
- Hypocrisy – to be two faced – contradicts integrity and transparency in love.
- Envy – to desire what someone else has so one’s value is increased – contradicts the fundamental that by God’s Word we are made alive and complete in Christ.
- Slander – to defame another person – contradicts the fundamental of love others and building them up by putting their needs ahead of our own.
All of these things are contradictory to the very nature of God as revealed in His living Word. When they’re gone, there’s room for us to grow in what accompanies our salvation.
I love Peter’s analogy of food. Let’s face it – I love food. Once I taste it, and if I like it, and I want more of it. Much more. It makes me grow…in all the wrong places, and that’s not good. But feeding on the living Word of God brings growth that’s good. God never intended us to stop growing. There are no spiritual diets. We can have all we want of God’s food. It’s our choice how much we want to grow. Little food brings little growth. Much food brings much growth.
Some people claim to not have much of an appetite. What a sad predicament of their own making. Somewhere along the line, they forgot how good God tasted. They chose to not savor His flavor. They chose to seek out other sources of nutrition, none of which ever satisfies. It’s not that they don’t have an appetite; it’s just that they’ve chosen to feed their hunger with something other than God. They need to go back and discover the taste of the Lord again.
Every once in a while I get the urge to have a mango. It truly is the world’s best fruit. I will try to satisfy my hunger for one by buying one locally. It was picked from the tree well before it was ripe, and when I did into the first bite, I am totally disappointed. Nothing beats tree-ripened fruit. Unfortunately, there’s no way to grow mangoes around here.
I first tasted a tree-ripened one in the Philippines. The people of the mission I worked with on three different occasions understood my love for them, and provided them for me at every meal. If I want that satisfying taste again, I’ll just have to go back there. It will be costly, and take a huge commitment of time and resources, but it would be worth it.
It may cost us to get back our spiritual appetite. It will take sacrifice, and a huge commitment of time and resources to go back to the place where we once fed on the fruit of the Tree of Life – but it will be worth it, for nothing else will ever satisfy. Let us search our memories and rediscover the place where we first tasted that the Lord was good, and let’s go back there to find all the food we could ever want. It’s time to start growing again.
By the way – please pass the mangoes.