Feeding on God’s Word

In the first installment of this blog series on our spiritual appetites we considered what the Apostle Peter is saying in 1 Peter 2:1-3 that when we feed the appetite for the flesh, we destroy our appetite for the things of God.

That covers verse 1. Then in verses 2-3, we learn that when we desire the things of God, we grow in the ways of God.

The text says,

“Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation, — (and he adds a conditional clause) if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.”

This verse tells us about a Christian’s attitude, appetite, and aim. “Like newborn infants,” describes the Christian’s attitude toward the word of God.

Peter is taking us all down to the nursery window and he’s pointing to a little baby at feeding time. He says, “Now watch that little baby for a minute.” Watch how his mouth desires life-giving milk from his mother. That’s a picture of a believer’s spiritual hunger and desire for God’s Word.

Peter then looks at us and says, “That’s the attitude you should have toward God’s word… drawn to it, reaching for it.” “Long for the pure spiritual milk”, this is the appetite we should have toward God’s word.

This phrase “long for” means to “desire” with the implication of recognizing a hunger or absence while yearning to fulfill it. You have a deep need that can only be satisfied by God Himself. The spiritual food you seek as a believer is the Word of God.

We are told to long for the pure spiritual milk, which refers to God’s Word, the Bible.

“Pure” milk meant that it hadn’t been mixed with anything else; this word for pure was used in business documents for sales of unadulterated foods. A person who knows Christ will have a hunger—a desire for the undiluted Word of God.

When a baby doesn’t have an appetite after several hours, there’s something dangerously wrong. Likewise, when a Christian doesn’t have an appetite for the things of God, there’s something dangerously wrong.

Peter alludes to what might be wrong in verse 3. Remember the conditional clause? “…if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.” It’s almost like Peter is saying, “If you’ve ever come to Christ, then you know what I’m saying here is true. You know. You’ve tasted.”

At this point I know someone must be thinking about what it means to desire the word of God. After all, many times even Christians do not feel an all-consuming desire to study the word of God. I feel that way in my own life from time to time.

Is Peter saying that if I don’t desire God’s word with 100% allegiance all the time, then I’m not a Christian? Well, if that’s the case then none of us are safe.

In my own life I’ve noticed there are seasons of desire when I feel great hunger for God’s word. During these times my prayers seem like a fluent dialogue with the Father.

But then there are also desert times when desire ebbs low. There have been times when I’ve felt so spiritually ineffective that I’ve said, “Lord, I need Your help right now. If You don’t minister to me, there’s no way I can minister to others.”

I believe there are various seasons of desire. There is a winter of desire that corresponds to the summer of desire.

The question then is not “Do you have a 100% desire for the things of God all the time”, but rather do you have any desire for the things of God at any time? Or even, are you at least willing to be made willing as you hear God’s Word?

The good news in these low ebb times of our spiritual journey is that if you have any desire or inclination toward the things of God—that desire was put there by your Father in heaven. Only God can initiate that true desire for His Word.

We must cultivate it, but only God can initiate it. And that’s the good news during those low ebb times when our desire seems to wane.

Peter is telling us that not only can we be satisfied in God… he’s telling us that we must be satisfied in God. This is now our priority above all else in this life. He’s telling us that if anyone has truly tasted of the bounties of our Lord, there’s no way they’ll want to turn back to the scraps of worldliness and sin as a regular pattern of living.

It doesn’t mean we won’t continue to struggle with the deeds of the flesh. That battle continues for the rest of this life. The real question is: have you ever tasted?

If a person hasn’t tasted that the Lord is good and gracious, it’s no mystery that there’s no appetite for the things of God in their life. This lack of appetite speaks of the person who feels no desire for the things of God at any time.

In the physical realm, birth predicates the desire to feed.

Likewise, in the spiritual realm new birth (or regeneration) predicates the desire to know Christ as He is revealed in Scripture. The appetite for spiritual food naturally follows spiritual birth.

To have spiritual life is to desire spiritual nourishment. Your appetites in life tell people about your spiritual life. Our appetites send a silent message that speaks louder than words to family, friends, and those around us.

The old saying goes, “Your talk talks and your walk talks. But your walk talks louder than your talk talks.”

My prayer for you is that your appetites and desires will show your value for Jesus Christ and His written Word, the Bible.

With joy in Christ,
Pastor Kevin