Living in the Last Days- Spiritual Growth
“As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word that ye may grow thereby” 1 Peter 2:2
Having spent the last 34 years counseling folks regarding life’s challenges, I have come to the conclusion that as Believers, all of our problems can be resolved by either getting into the Word of God or back into the Word. Often I will ask, “Are you studying your Bible?” The answer is nearly always, “Not like I should.” My response has always been, “Desire the sincere milk of the word of God that you may grow thereby!” Let’s take a moment to glean from Gods Word just how we can grow spiritually.
As newborn babes "As" brings up an analogy between physical and spiritual growth. Since physical growth begins with physical birth, spiritual growth should begin with spiritual birth. This does not necessarily follow in the spiritual realm. It depends on our attitude toward the Word of God. "Newborn" means born recently. Peter refers to new spiritual babies who have just begun to live. New babies are totally helpless. This is the condition of a new Christian. He is totally helpless to live the Christian life. However, I have witnessed 80 year old Christians with no more spiritual understand then one of these babies due to spiritual apathy!
Desire the pure milk of the word Spiritual life requires food suitable to that life. The milk of the Word suits the new spiritual life. Physical babies desire milk often and intensely.
Spiritual babies should have an avid sense of hunger for the Word. The word "pure" is in contrast to "deceit" of verse one. God’s Word does not deceive. It is unadulterated and guileless. The Word is unmixed, without dishonest intent, without fraud. The Word is genuine, the real thing. "Pure" means entirely free from dust or corrupt matter. Homologized or unadulterated, i.e. mixed with nothing=PURE
There is no contamination by alien matter. There is no mixture with anything useless or harmful. The pure milk of the Word will not do harm to new Christians. It will never impose legalism or distortions. Unless a new believer has the basic truth of the milk of the Bible he will never grow up. Many Christians are weak and emaciated because they are deficient in vitamin B – the Bible. They neglect the Word because the toxic impurities of malice, guile, hypocrisy, envy and evil-speaking steal their appetite for the Word. The word "word" means spiritual, rational.
Romans 12:1 renders this word "spiritual service." It implies genuineness, or being true to the real and essential nature of something. God wants true worship. He wants an intelligent, rational service (or worship). The nourishment here is of a spiritually rational nature. When this nature acts through the regenerate mind, spiritual growth results.
In our verse, "word" means rudimentary spiritual teaching (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:2; Hebrews 5:12-13). God did not give his Word so that it is impossible to understand it, or that it requires a special class of men to interpret it. Its character is such that the Holy Spirit who gave it can unfold its truths even to the youngest convert. Cp. 1 John 2:27.
desire the pure milk of the word.
The word "desire" means to desire earnestly, to fix the desire upon. This word stresses the inward impulse rather than the object desired. It comes from two words: "upon" (used intensively) and "passion." The New Testament uses "desire" for things good or bad. Desire carries two ideas: to long for, to lust after (Acts 20:33; Romans 7:7; 13:9).
Longing for the Word is a sure manifestation of spiritual life. The Word strengthens the believer so that he can improve and grow strong in the Christian life. The condition for growth is desire.
This is an intense and recurring desire (Psalm 42:1; Psalm 119:174). It is not enough to desire the Word. We need to desire the unadulterated Word of God. God does not want us to desire just anything about the Word. He wants us to desire the unadulterated Word of God. Make sure it is the pure Word of God, not some convoluted distortion by a wild eyed Christian.
Desire is to long, yearn. This is a strong word for intense yearning. God wants us to intensely long for God’s Word. The Christian’s thirst for life in God should be as strong and instinctive and health-giving as a baby’s appetite for mother’s milk. This is a sure sign you have fallen in love with the Lord. Loss of appetite for the Word is a sign of spiritual sickness.
that you may grow thereby "Grow" ... means to increase in size, enlarge, foster, strengthen, to cause something to increase. This is a growth of that which lives, naturally or spiritually (Ephesians 4:15; Colossians 1:6,10; 2 Peter 3:18). "Grow" here means to be nourished. God wants us to grow up. Spiritual growth occurs only in proportion to our growth in the Word.
God wants us to grow in our knowledge of God (Colossians 1:10). We may render this phrase as “you will know God more and more.”
The Greek has a prepositional phrase at the end of this phrase translated by one word here --"thereby." The Greek of the word "thereby" means" on account of salvation." That is, because God saved our soul we should have a hunger for God’s Word. Once we pass into spiritual life, we need to grow. Many Christians do not know what they are missing in the Christian life. Only Christians can grow because only Christians have eternal, spiritual life.
"And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and division among you, are you not carnal and
behaving like mere men? For when one says, 'I am of Paul,' and another, 'I am of Apollos,' are you not carnal?" (1Corinthians 3:1-4).
"For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food" (Hebrews 5:12).
There are not 12 ways to build healthy bodies as in Wonder Bread! There is only one way to grow spiritually, “desire the unadulterated Word of God mixed with nothing.”