Summary: A message for new members to encourage them to aggressively pursue the Word of God.
You must crave pure spiritual milk so that you can grow into the fullness of your salvation. Cry out for this nourishment as a baby cries for milk, now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness.
(1 Peter 2:2-3, NLT)
What a clear and concise message! It simply says that we must desire, we must crave pure spiritual milk, which is the Word of God. We must be hungry and thirsty for God’s Word in order to grow spiritually. If we sincerely crave His word, listen to what God said He will do: ”…I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring, and My blessing on your descendants.” (Isaiah 44:3)
The word crave is synonymous to yearn, long for, pine after, need, want, hanker, hunger, ache, desire, and require. They all are kin to the Greek word, epipothesis. Listen to some its definitions:
· To long for with a keen appetite and uneasiness; to have a vehement, vigorous, passionate, and intense desire;
· To be harassed or rendered uneasy with longing for someone or something;
· To strain with emotions of affection or tenderness;
· The natural longing that is excited by the enjoyment or the thought of anything good;
· The natural longing that thrusts to action its continuance or possession.
It’s that feeling that you get when you are apart from that person you love so dearly. It’s like hunger pains. It’s what the hip-hop generation call fien’in!
Now, listen to how epipothesis is used in Scripture:
· "And Joseph made haste; for his bowels did yearn upon his brother: and he sought where to weep; and he entered into his chamber, and wept there."
· "As the hart panteths after the water brooks, so my soul panteths after thee, O God. When will I come and appear before God?" (Psalms 42:1-2).
· "My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God." (Psalm 84:1)
· "I long for your salvation, O LORD, and your law is my delight." (Psalms 119:174).
· "LORD , be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress." (Isaiah 33:2)
What it boils down to, brothers and sisters, is a matter of the heart. This craving is predicated on the condition of one’s heart. In Matthew 13, Jesus talked about the hearts of man. We know this passage of scripture as: The Parable of the Sower. In summary, the 4 kinds of ground represent the 4 kinds of hearts of man.
· The Hard Heart… hears and does not comprehend, so does nothing.
· The Stony Heart… hears, receives with joy, but trouble or persecution causes it to fade away.
· The Thorny Heart… also hears, receives, but the deceitfulness of wealth and prosperity chokes it out.
· The Fertile Heart… hears, receives, understands, and brings forth good fruit through their lifestyle.
It is very important to understand the kind of soil that the powerful Word of God comes upon. Which kind do you have? Now, I don’t want you to give up on yourself if your heart isn’t fertile right now. Because any good farmer can tell you that bad soil can be transformed into fertile soil - it just takes some effort. You have to work it. You have to rid the soil of its impurities. Likewise, you have to rid your hearts of its impurities. So, let’s rewind and read that first verse of chapter 2. "1Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind."
In this context, the word malice (kakis) presents us with a visual presentation of a man stripping off his filthy garments after digging a stinky, slimy ditch all day long. Spiritually, we too must strip off all the evil we’ve adorned from this heathen world. There are various aspects of malice and each one destroys the receptivity of the Word, and hardens the heart. Peter specifically mentions:
· Deceit (dolos) - trickery of a person who is out to deceive others to attain his own desires.
· Hypocrisy (hupokrisis) – a person who is always acting a part and concealing his real motives… his Christianity is for his own profit and prestige, not for the service and glory of Christ.
· Envy (phthonos) - Spiteful jealously. This is more than wishing you had what someone else has… It is desiring hurt or harm to come to that person.
· Slander (katalalia) - means evil-speaking, and is almost always the fruit of envy in the heart and usually takes place when its victim is not there to defend himself.