Evaluating Your Longings
“Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.”
1 Peter 2:2–3.
The desire for food is natural to every living being. Plants might not have emotions, but they drink up water and nutrients from the ground with eagerness. Herbivores seek for the tenderest leaves to satisfy their hunger. Carnivores run around hoping to get their paws on some meat. Human beings work for most of the day to set a meal on the table. Life demands food, and malnutrition can have some devastating effects.
Having assured the believers of their new life in Christ (that they are born again—1 Peter 1:3,23), Peter now urges them to do what is natural for those who have life: desire and look for food. He continues with the analogy of newborn infants to make sure this reality sticks in their minds. Babies mainly cry for one of two reasons: the need to be fed or changed. We focus here on their need to be fed. Newborn babies crave milk because they are sustained by it, and also because they delight in it.
Well, as believers, we are called to long for the pure spiritual milk (the word of God) in order to grow up into salvation. And the basis for this whole process is that we have already tasted that the Lord is good.
Let us begin with the motivation, “If indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.” The desire for growth in the believer is not to be fueled by competition with other Christians. Neither is it to be driven by a need to be the most learned in your group of friends. It is to be driven by worship for God. Reading the Bible is not merely a ritual that Christians are called to engage in. It is not simply something for you to cross off your to-do list. The Bible is where God has revealed Himself to us. In the pages of Scripture, God bids us “Come and know me.” Therefore, if we have truly tasted that the Lord is good, there is only one thing left to do—dig into His word that we might know Him more and more. The goodness of God is the driving force behind our piety and worship. If you find yourself struggling to read His word and pray, ask yourself what aspect of God’s goodness you are currently forgetting or doubting, and you will usually find that your sluggishness in the disciplines of grace flows out of a forgetfulness of the God of grace.
Notice also that the goal of longing for the “pure spiritual milk” is growth. Everything that has life grows. As believers, we are not only to believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ, that He lived for us, died for us, rose for us, and is coming back for us. We are also to grow in our assurance of these truths. Christian growth is essentially growing in our knowledge of and trust for God. This is why we read our Bibles and pray, that we might know Him more, and be transformed into the image of Christ our Lord. The more we know Him, the more our assurance grows that He has truly redeemed us and will never let us go. The clearer we view Him, the more we desire to be more like Him. This is what sanctification is: beholding Him and becoming more like Him (2 Corinthians 3:18).
Therefore, dear Christian, having believed in the saving work of Jesus Christ, may you dig into His word that you might grow in grace. May you seek Him, delight in Him, and find everything you need in Him.
When you evaluate your priorities for the day, would you say that you long for the pure spiritual milk of the word the way you should? Pray that the Lord would grow this desire in your heart.