Dynamics of Christian Growth
“1 So get rid of all evil behavior. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech. 2 Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, 3 now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness.” 1 Peter 2:1-3 NIV
In 1 Peter 1, we have discovered that Peter doesn’t preach down on suffering, but he preaches up on Jesus. Now he moves on to challenging the churches to grow in two areas in order to experience Christian growth. He challenges them too…
- Aggressively remove sin from their lives.
“Get rid of all evil behavior. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech.” V. 1
In order to receive the Word of God, they needed to be sure to have a humble and honest heart that was willing to do whatever God wants. While this is a truth that Peter taught the church long ago, it still resonates true today. In order for God’s people to be empowered to be a witness to the world, we need to “be done” with our old sinful ways and desires. In order to step into God’s best for our lives, we need to “be done” with old lifestyles and habits. We cannot hold onto both our old lifestyles and press onto His blessings. We need to choose.
Peter encourages us to aggressively remove sin from our lives. If we seek the Word of God but do not relentlessly remove sin from our lives, we simply develop new philosophies and new theories. We become inspired, but if sin is tolerated in our lives, it negates the effectiveness of the Word of God in our lives.
Peter dealt with this issue personally. He was deceitful when he betrayed Jesus. He was hypocritical when he sided with the Jews over the Gentiles in Acts. A much older and wiser Peter now realized that in order to experience real growth, sin needed to be aggressively removed from his life.
- Grow a passion for the Word of God.
“Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation.” V. 2
The Word of God, Peter recognizes, is necessary for the growth of a Christian. It is impossible to grow in our relationship with God without growing in our relationship with God’s Word. Throughout the scriptures, God has shown Himself to be a God who both comes to us, and dwells with us.
Peter compares the desire a believer has for the Word of God to the desire a newborn baby has to its mother’s milk. A baby doesn’t have to be told to want milk. It doesn’t have to be convinced that it needs milk nor does it have to be entertained to receive the milk. A baby is not embarrassed to ask nor is it ashamed if its need. A baby knows instinctively and yearns for its mother’s milk. To understand and know the “full experience of salvation,” Peter says a Christ follower needs to yearn for God’s Word like a baby yearns for its mother’s milk. We don’t need to be convinced that we need God’s Word, nor do we have to be entertained to receive it. We should not be embarrassed or ashamed of our need for it. We grow in our journey with God when we aggressively remove sin from our lives and when we grow in a passion for God’s Word.
Peter heard the words of Jesus himself and knew that he needed to hear more. He yearned to hear the Master speak. In order for a believer to be growing, we need to be yearning to hear our Master as well.
Holy Spirit, empower me to aggressively remove sin in my life. Renew a passion that burns deep within me for more of Your Word, and a strong desire to obey. In Your precious name, amen.