Have you ever gone out to eat at a restaurant and arrived so hungry that you began filling your stomach with the toasted bread they put on the table as an appetizer?
When that warm basket of fresh bread is sitting there on the table and your stomach is empty, it takes real discipline to restrain yourself. So often, one bite leads to another.
Each time I fill up on appetizer bread, I later regret that I didn’t restrain myself and save room for the main course.
Now, filling up on appetizer bread is one thing, but in our spiritual and mental life, the problem becomes far more serious. All of us have appetites and desires that drive us to make the choices we make. Our hearts and minds hunger. However, as we’ve seen, that which is most readily available to us is rarely the best thing for us.
When it comes to our spiritual appetite, the world, the flesh, and the devil strive constantly to satisfy and deaden our spiritual appetites with carnal substitutes.
John Piper calls these substitutes the “white bread of secularism.” We grab for these rather than cultivate a desire for the rich and exquisite bounties of God contained in His Word.
The apostle Peter knew this danger. He was concerned that some Christians might fill up on the scraps of sin which are as convenient as free bread at a restaurant. That’s why he wrote these words in 1 Peter 2:1-3.
So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. 2 Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. [ESV]
Peter is writing about two different choices to satisfy two different appetites.
On one hand, there’s the convenient table filled with the appetizers of sin right there in verse one. But if we lay these aside, we can then choose to be satisfied on the bounties that God provides through His word and we’ll grow and that’s verse two.
Look at verse one. “So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander…” Each of the words in this list are related to a toxic form of self-love. It’s a picture of self-love that is ingrown and infected.
The first word on Peter’s list is “malice.” Malice is wickedness manifested by hateful feelings with the intent to hurt another person through harmful words or deeds.
Webster’s dictionary defines malice as a “desire to cause pain, injury, or distress to another person.” The Greek word is kakia which refers not so much to the act as it refers to the depraved nature behind the act.
Every evil on this vice-list is resident within our fallen nature. Even believers in Christ sometimes yield to the sins of our old nature.
That’s why Peter, writing to believers exhorts us to “put away” these sins. If they weren’t within us, there would be no reason for this exhortation. So malice is the first sin with which he deals.
We’ll consider more from this passage in an upcoming blog.
For His Glory,