Meditations for Troubled Times
“Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation.” (1 Peter 2:2)
In the year 2020, we can find ourselves longing for many things: an end to COVID-19, the restoration of social order, the political mudslinging to stop, masks to be forever put away, and so on. And while the yearning for peace, stability, and the banishing of sorrows is an upright desire—one that will be fulfilled in the glory that awaits—in these days of present exile, we must long for something more specific; namely, the pure spiritual milk.
What is this milk? The two adjectives give us a clue. First, this milk is pure. It offers nothing defiled. It contains no harmful additives, no deception. It is milk loaded with substance, with truth. Further, this milk is spiritual, or maybe a better translation would be rational or reasonable. In other words, the way we feed on this milk is not spiritual in the sense of mystical or ethereal (think smells and bells or a particular ambience). We feed on this milk rationally; that is, we receive it through our minds.
Now, what source of nourishment carries no deception and appeals to our minds? In context, Peter has already made this clear by telling us that we have been born again through the imperishable seed of the living and abiding word of God (1 Peter 1:22). The word that remains forever has given us life, and it’s this same word that takes newborn believers and feeds us so that we are transformed by the renewing of our minds.
Peter is teaching us that the very word that birthed us, that was the means of God creating faith in our hearts, this same word will sustain our growth. If we are to make spiritual progress, to think right thoughts, to develop new habits, to trace the steps of Jesus, we need the word to enable our spiritual progress. If the word has the power to make us grow up in salvation, how earnestly should we crave it?
Peter explains that our desire for the word of God, specifically, the word preached (see 1 Peter 1:25), should be like that of newborns for their mother’s milk. The verb ‘long for’ or ‘crave’ refers to an intense desire. It’s the very desire the Psalmist says he has for God. “As the deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God” (Psalm 42:1).
Dear believer, do you have an insatiable desire for God and his word? We all know a newborn has such a craving for milk that the child will wake you up in the middle of the night screaming to be satisfied. In fact, the child will not go more than a few hours without longing again for nourishment. And nothing else will satisfy.
This is a telling metaphor for the intensity of our desire for the word of God. There is no other means to the increase of our faith. There is no other source of unshakable truth. There is no other medicine against the onslaughts of sin. If this is the case, then I cannot possibly miss a moment when the milk of God’s word will be poured out in preaching. Do you want spiritual satisfaction? Do you desire maturity? Pray for a greater craving for the word and put yourself in the place where this craving can be satisfied. May God bless our growth by feeding us on the purity of his truth!