LET’S GROW

6 Mar

diet

 

I Peter 2:1-2…
Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, 2 like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation
I have a confession to make… and I’m glad my CG trainers don’t read my blog. But the truth is they probably know this anyway… I love junk food… I mean, I adore it! And you can probably tell. Ice cream, chips, Reeses… yeah, I love that stuff.
But let’s face it… Just because I like it doesn’t mean it’s good for me. In fact, it’s not. It doesn’t do a thing for me healthwise. In fact, and here is another confession I hope my trainers don’t read… it actually sets me back on whatever progress I’m making.
For a child, it’s even worse. Doctors will often say that if junk food is the most steady part of a child’s diet, it will impede their growth. It is important that they have a steady healthy diet of milk, bread, meat, and vegetables.

Did you know that a Christian must have a spiritual diet? You can find it in the text I put at the top of the page.. I like Peter. Peter is quite often pictured on the pages of scripture eating, or sitting at the table. Here, in chapter 2, he is not referring the material food, but the spiritual food by which a Christian may grow up in his spiritual life.
There are many believers today who are very weak in their spiritual life. They have no power to stand up for Christ, they have no power to go and accomplish their mission, no nerve, no joy, nor energy. Maybe you are that kind of Christian. You’re not growing. And in order to grow, you have to adjust your spiritual diet.

There Is no human being that has never tasted God’s kindness. His kindness is seen in his creation, in his carel, in his protection, in his provision, and everything that surrounds us.

There is no person who claims a relationship with Jesus Christ that never tasted God’s kindness and love revealed to us in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
So this message is for you. Either because you have tasted the kindness of God. And secondly, because you need to grow. Verse 2 tells us that this diet is for growth.

Peter wrote this passage so that its receivers may know that Christians are supposed to grow through spiritual diet.

The Christian is supposed to grow through a spiritual diet.

What are the specific characteristics of the spiritual diet?

Our text reveals two basic characteristics .

First of all, the spiritual diet excludes worldly food.

If I want to get in better shape, I have to avoid certain foods. For a while, they had us doing a program called CG Fit… It had foods I could eat. But it also had foods I could not eat. (And yes, some of those foods are foods I really enjoy.
But to truly be healthy I have to exclude them.. and anyone who is ever around me knows that it doesn’t often happen like it should.
In the same way, if you want to grow spiritually, you have to exclude from your spiritual diet all unhealthy worldly, sinful food.
The apostle presents five specific sins that Christian must eliminate from his life. Very interesting, the bible refers to these sins by the means of food.

1. The wickedness, the anger that boils deep in the heart. 1 Corinthians 5:8 tells us that there is a leaven of wickedness; a Christian should not celebrate the feast with this sinful food. I think all of us at some point or another deal with anger. I know with me, I am still struggling with it. I have a lot of anger over something that was done to my family in recent months. I will forgive but often times, I want to feast and fester in that anger and so I pick it back up again from time to time. I have to learn to throw it away.
2. The guile, literally the bit of food which fisherman put in his hook to catch fish; and means to catch others. For example, I give you a Christmas gift so that you may give me a Christmas gift.
3. Hypocrisy. Preaching or saying one thing and doing another.

4. The envy, the jealousy, the resentment, the rivalry; Proverbs 23:6 tells us , “Do not eat the bread of a selfish, or jealous man.”

5. The slander, which is literally, backbiting. When someone is telling you something about your neighbor, “The words of the slanderer are like morsels.” Proverbs 18:8. I cannot get away from the truth of that scripture. Why do we like watching scandals unfold on television. Someone mentioned this to me last week… we hate the liberalism and slanting of the news media. But you know why they keep doing it.. because we keep watching it! We love to hear this garbage.

This is a bad food, you better stay away from it, it hinders your growth.
Christian diet requires discipline, to be willing to put aside all evil habits, all wrong feelings, all sinful acts. Probably you see deep in your heart anger, or hypocrisy, or jealousy. You cannot grow “in respect to salvation” unless you put them aside, unless you throw them out of your life. Confess and forsake them and ask to be cleansed by the blood of Jesus. Next time when Satan comes with similar stuff, reject him. Your growth depends on what you receive in your heart.
The main ingredient of a spiritual diet should be the Word of God.
Look again in verse 2: “Long for the pure milk of the word.”
If a Christian is to grow, then he must grow with the word of God. This is the right food for the soul. There are several things to be mentioned here:

1. A Christian is supposed to absorb the word of God. Not novels, nor books, not even devotional books, nor videotapes, not T.V or radio, not Christian movies. Now do not hear me putting those things down. I have enjoyed writers like Tim Dekker, Jerry Jenkins, Frank Peretti. I love a good Christian movie. I am always reading something that another preacher wrote. But for some, that’s all the spiritual nourishment they get. And it’s just not enough.
I don’t know about you but when it comes to real food, I hate imitation anything.
Some of you will remember that my wife and I had a teenager living with us when we first got married (she’s now 30 which makes me feel really old). Danna took her to Little Rock to spend time with her parents. It was there that she tried mashed potatoes for the first time. Oh she had eaten the “potato flakes” before. But these were the real stuff. She was amazed!
These books, these movies, are great. We show some of those movies at church from time to time. But nothing beats the pure word of God.

2. The Christian is supposed to long for the word just as a new born baby longs for milk. Not weekly but daily.

3. The word of God must be absorbed unaltered, not milk and sugar, not milk and honey, but pure milk. Many Christians alter the true meaning of the Bible by adding sweet human doctrines so that they might accord with their desires and make them feel better.

4. The word is profitable to grow in respect to salvation. We are supposed to grow after being saved, not to remain baby Christians, but to grow.
Do you remember the time when your children were babies? How eager they were to have milk? Destiny called it “juice” and whenever she was thirsty, she would call out “Juice! Juice!” Many times, it wasn’t juice she wanted. It was milk. And we didn’t mind giving it to her. It was good for her growth.

In the same manner, the Word of God is good for Christian growth. We need to take it regularly, systematically, and abundantly. The basic ingredient of Christian diet is the Word of God.

Let me ask you today: Are you hungry for the Word of God? Do you enjoy reading, memorizing, studying, meditating on the word of God. Is the word of God the greatest pleasure you have? Is it more precious than Gold to you? Your spiritual well being depends on your daily feeding with the word of God.

My Granddaddy Frank was not the most educated man I knew. But he was a believer. And he loved studying the Bible. That man could quote chapter and verse better than most people. Why? Because he continuously fed himself with spiritual food from the Word of God.
Many of you are reading this and are saying, as you have said to me before… “But I just don’t know if I can do this… it’s hard for me to read what I don’t understand. But Peter is not coming at this from a negative perspective. He is saying “you can”.

Our problem is often that we don’t take time to know God. We lack discipline, and we find books, TV, or the internet more interesting than the Word of God. I challenge you today to a new life, to grow up in Christ.
If you have tasted the “kindness of the lord”, then this message is for you. Put aside your sinful actions and reactions and take the word of God as your spiritual food, and you will grow.

And for those of you, who didn’t taste yet the kindness of God, let me challenge you today to look at the cross. In the person, in the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we have the most extraordinary revelation of God’s kindness. Put your trust In Jesus. Ask forgiveness for your sins, and begin today a new life with him.

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