This morning’s reading was 1 Peter 2:1-3:
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.
It reads a lot like a spiritual detox. There are some things to be eliminated from us, and some new intake. So, let’s do an inventory of the things to be rid of. Perhaps this prayer from Ps 139:23-24 is a good primer:
Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
Malice: do I wish evil or bad on anyone? Do I secretly smile when things don’t go well for them? Do I actually want God NOT to bless them because I resent them in some way? (This is a hard one, especially if a Christian has wounded us.)
Deceit: am I actively engaging in a deceit? Is there someone who believes something about me that is not true, and I’m not correcting it? Am I conning someone, in a minor or major way, for my own advantage?
Hypocrisy: is there a glaring mismatch between the life I profess to lead as a Christian, and the life I actually lead? To be sure, there will always be “slippage” but are there gaps that I’m aware of, that I’m not attempting to close?
Envy: do I want what others have, in terms of possessions, or talent, or am I content with what God has given me? Is my envy a constant challenge to contentment?
Slander: am I speaking badly about others? Am I elevating myself by putting others down? Do I ever speak in such a way about someone that if they were in the room, and overheard what I said, I would be horribly embarrassed?
So much for the detox. Now what do we put in?
Pure spiritual milk: I’m not sure exactly what Peter was thinking when he used this metaphor. We know that a mother’s milk is actually the very best thing for a new born baby, with elements that protect the child from sickness, and build in the essential ingredients for growth. Perhaps it is a simple as the gospel itself, which protects us from sin (from committing it, and the consequences of it) and which builds us up in our knowledge and love of God and others.
And the delightful thing is, once you have tasted the goodness of God, you crave more.
(If you received this by email, you probably got two today – bonus! It’s because I forgot to check the “Newsletter” box in my blog, which tells it to send to the email list. My apologies.)