(The following is post 5 of 5 on Five Personal Benefits of God's Word)
Brand new babies can only do a couple things: they sleep, they cry, they do things in their diapers... and they eat! Of course they eat, because they are growing. If a baby doesn’t eat, they will not grow. And if they continue that pattern, they will quickly die. And not only is eating an absolute requirement, they must eat the right kinds of foods. If they aren’t eating nutritiously, then they won’t grow properly.
Peter uses a ‘baby analogy’ to make a point about a Christian’s growth in 1 Peter 2:2 by saying, “like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the Word, that you may grow in respect to salvation.” He’s saying, “Babies crave milk. That’s all they think about. That’s all they want! Just like that babies strong desire for food, so should our desire be for God’s Word.” If we do not long for God’s Word, we will not grow spiritually. We will shrivel up and die in our soul.
Job knew of the importance of God’s Word in his life. In fact, Job seems to speak a little stronger than what Peter says when he states, “I have treasured the words of [God’s] mouth, more than my necessary food” (Job 23:12). Instead of saying we need to crave it like we need to crave food, Job says we need to crave it MORE than we crave food. The desire for food is a very strong desire. We eat multiple times a day because we’re expending energy and we naturally get hungry. Job and Peter are both saying that our desire for God’s Word should be as regular, as natural and as strong (or even stronger) than our desire for something we do multiple times every day, and that is eating food.
How do we know when we’re growing? Here are few things I read recently that can help us know:
1). We are becoming more like Christ (more compassionate, more loving, exercising patience, concerned for the lost, etc).
2). We are growing in our understanding of who Christ is and what He has done to purchase our salvation.
3). We appreciate our relationship with our Creator and Redeemer.
4). We are cultivating that relationship with the Lord Jesus, spending much time in prayer and in His Word.
5). We display of life of holiness. We develop an acute hatred toward sin and an increasing love of righteousness.
Author and preacher J.C. Ryle wrote this in his classic book, simply entitled ‘Holiness’:
“When I speak of a man growing in grace, I mean simply this - that his sense of sin is becoming deeper, his faith stronger, his hope brighter, his love more extensive, his spiritual-mindedness more marked. He feels more of the power of godliness in his own heart. He manifests more of it in his life.”
What kinds of obstacles exist in your life that would quench your appetite for the Bible? What will you do to remove them?
Is your circle of friends encouraging in the Word? What things do you talk about when you’re together? Are you encouraging them in the Word?
Spiritual growth requires regular rigorous Bible reading/study. It takes time and effort. There are no shortcuts. Do you have a regular routine for getting a steady dose of scripture? If not, now is the time to develop this habit. Reading just 15-20 minutes a day, or 4 chapters per day, will enable you to read through the whole Bible in just one year.
Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the Word, that you may grow in respect to salvation. - 1 Peter 2:2