1 Peter #4 1 Peter 2:1-3 Craving
1 Peter #4 1 Peter 2:1-3 Craving
In our exploration of the letter Peter wrote to congregations throughout modern-day Turkey, we shall see that to grow spiritually in the family of God there are five behaviors that you cannot tolerate and one essential that you must add to your life.
1 Peter 2:1-3 (NIV)
Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.
“Therefore” refers back to what was written before. “Be holy because God is holy.” Holiness is not optional in the life of a disciple. The Chosen of God are to be God’s representatives in the world. Since God is holy, those who have entered into the new covenant relationship are to be holy. When you acknowledge that you are creating messes in your life, and you believe that Jesus is the only one who can save you out of your messes, and are willing to commit to following His ways so that He can transform your messes, then ask the Father to include you in the new covenant that is sealed with the blood of Jesus; God declares you to be holy, set apart to Him. This declaration makes you holy. This declaration makes you part of the family of God. The scripture uses the word adopted to describe the result of this declaration (Ephesians 1:5). The scripture uses the word grafted to describe the results of this declaration. You are grafted into the Olive Tree which is the symbol for the people of Abraham, the Jews (Romans 11:17). Adopted and grafted in, you share in the promises of God for salvation. If you have called upon the Lord to save you, then you have been declared holy (Romans 10:13). Having been declared holy, you are indwelled by the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit, who begins a process that transforms you morally into the person God declared you to be. This process that transforms you into the person God declared you to be is a partnership. The Holy Spirit will not force you to be like Jesus. You are endowed by your Creator with free will, so you must choose to participate in this work of the Holy Spirit to make you holy in all you do. “Therefore.”
“Therefore” as a member of the family of God Peter writes that we must rid our lives of five things. Malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander; can no longer be tolerated in your life, nor allowed to exist in your faith community. Consider what would happen in a community of twelve if one member of that community engaged in any of these behaviors. It would eventually destroy the community.
If there is Malice (kakian) in your heart you are no longer on guard against pouncing sin. Recall last time, sin is like a crouching lion waiting for the opportunity to pounce and drag you away. Malice means evil intent, intent not keeping with the law of love.
Check your intent. Evil intent and holiness are incompatible. Not only will a malicious intent prevent you from growing spiritually, but it is also destructive to the family.
Deceit (dolon) is about taking advantage of another person. The deceitful person chooses a behavior that will manipulate another into doing what they want. The more cunning the deceitful person is the more disguised the attempt is. Deceit is taking advantage of another for personal gain.
Deceit blocks spiritual growth, it is anti-love, which is anti-holiness. Deceit ruins your life and destroys trust within the family.
Hypocrisy (hypokriseis) is saying one thing but doing another. Now we are all guilty of this from time to time. But when it is premeditated, you’re just hiding your true motives. The hypocrite is two-faced, what you see is not what you get. Such a person is acting, not showing you who they are.
Acts of hypocrisy stop spiritual growth. Hypocrites cannot be holy. They eventually discredit themselves and disgrace the family. Those outside the family often make sweeping generalizations that if one of the so-called Chosen is a hypocrite then all of them are hypocritical too.
Envy (phthomous) will steal your joy hindering your ability to live a holy life. A disposition of envy will not only prevent you from ever feeling content with what you have but it is more nefarious in that you want better for yourself than the other (Powers p.76). Always comparing what someone else has even to the point of depriving them of it so that you can possess it kills fellowship.
Envy of family members causes nothing but disunity. All the envious person is concerned about is getting what they want or being unhappy that someone else has it or complaining that someone else has it so much better than they do. Such an attitude creates discord.
Slander (katalalias) is to speak disparagingly of someone else. This most often occurs behind their backs. In other words, you are tearing them down without them being present to tell their side of the story. Holiness requires that we build others up, holy people demonstrate their heritage by being encouragers of others. If you are busy tearing them down, you can’t live a holy life.
Slandering a member of the family is ripping the family apart. To say “bless their heart” after criticizing doesn’t make it ok. Spreading rumors, gossip, and pointing out shortcomings is what the scripture calls backbiting, the result is devouring one another (Galatians 5:15). You destroy the family.
Since you are declared holy and are participating in becoming holy, being holy means, you rid yourself of “malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander.” These behaviors “disrupt and destroy the mutual love to which Peter calls us in chapter 1 verse 22 “…love one another as if your lives depended on it.” (Powers p. 76) The way a person rids themselves of these 5 holiness killers is to first recognize them. Question yourself, your intent, your motivation, are any of your behaviors fueled by these sins. If so confess it. Confession is to agree with God that something you have done is wrong, that it is counter to the way of holiness and needs to be forgiven. Remember last time we said God, our good Father, doesn’t let us get away with being sloppy. When we ask to be forgiven it is expected that since we now recognize our fault we are going to repent from our fault. Repent means to actively destroy the behavior. The “malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, or slander” will no longer have a place in your life. Then the hardest part, you have to ask others to forgive you for your actions. Not doing so will also hinder your growth in holiness. You replace the negative with loving intent. A loving intent moves you down the path of holiness.
[Reflection: Father and Judge. Friend and Lord. Jesus commissions and the Father judges the work and rewards accordingly.]
Peter then urges us to create a craving. Not only are we to develop a taste for something, but we are also to desire it. Intense cravings demand to be satisfied. Sherri and I were in Kihei and I came up with the brilliant idea to hike to the Hanomanioa Light, with just two water bottles apiece and the wrong footwear for navigating lava fields which is a much more descriptive name than Natural Area Reserve. On the way back an intense craving for drinking water became an unrelenting demand for satisfaction. Traveling over lava rocks with a tropical sun and strong wind and no water sapped our strength. I could see the headlines, Stupid Tourists Die From Dehydration 100 Feet From Auntie’s Concession Truck. I discovered that you could drink a gallon of water if you breathe through your nose between gulps. I was craving water, and Peter urged us to crave pure spiritual milk.
“Pure Spiritual Milk” is a metaphor, a symbol for something else entirely. Otherwise, there would be Christian Dairy Farms all over the place, organic, no GMO, no hormones added. Babies need milk to grow. So, we can ask ourselves, what do I need to grow in holiness? The answer through the centuries by people craving holiness is the Word of God. “Scripture is the necessary nourishment of believers who want to grow in holiness” (Powers, p.79). You read and study the Bible for content and encounter. As you read scripture you are reading in partnership with the Holy Spirit. The Spirit reveals truth, the content of scripture, and how to apply it to your life. Also, as you read and realize that all these new ideas, the encouragements, the guidance, are coming from God, you sense His presence during your activity. You become convinced that God is with you.
Peter wants you to develop a craving for the Word of God because it will aid you in your pursuit of holiness. One of the first verses of scripture I memorized was Psalm 119:105 “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” This verse reminds me that I must rely on the Bible to help me pursue a holy life. The scripture reveals God’s will and God’s way to accomplish His purposes. The scripture is a moral guide helping you determine right and wrong, good and evil. Wisdom is found within the pages of the Bible. Wisdom involves applying what you know to life’s situations. There is encouragement within its pages. When you spend quality time reading and studying you feel that it was the right thing to do. Something supernatural is transpiring that changes you.
2 Timothy 3:15-17 (MSG)
There's nothing like the written Word of God for showing you the way to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God's way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.
In our list of the seven habits of a disciple, the very first habit is reading and studying scripture. If you want to thrive spiritually then developing a habit, to the point of craving, the reading and study of scripture, is essential. There is a multitude of tools to help you read the bible. If you don’t like to read, get an audio version of the bible, or better yet read along with the audio, it will keep your mind from wandering. Cell phones can be so useful, I installed The Anglican Bible Reading Plan on mine [Anglican Bible Reading Plan - Apps on Google Play]. I use this tool daily. Find a reading plan that fits you and use it. For the study of scripture, use the New Beacon Bible Commentary [New Beacon Bible Commentary (thefoundrypublishing.com)]. The Commentary helps you understand what has been written. These commentaries are available at your favorite online bookstore. You develop the habit of reading and studying scripture because you encounter God as you do.
In our teaching today we have been made aware of five behaviors that have no place in the life of God’s holy people and one behavior that is essential to pursuing a life of holiness. Malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander can no longer be tolerated in your life, they lead you off the path of holiness every time. These are inner attitudes that you will have to partner with the Holy Spirit to get rid of. More than just your personal spiritual growth is at stake here. These behaviors destroy relationships. Within the faith community, they are a disruptive force that erodes the unity of the group and tarnishes the public reputation. Negative inner attitudes are to be replaced with the intent of loving others as much as you love yourself.
We have been made aware that to stay on the path of holiness we must constantly be reading and studying the scripture. The Holy Spirit uses the scripture to communicate with us. Guidance and encouragement are found within its pages. The Bible is a proven meeting place for rendezvous with God. Righteous truth transforms your thinking (Romans 12:2). Transform your thinking, your dispositions, your intent, and your attitude, and your behavior, your values, and your desires all change realigning with Kingdom values. Aligning with the heart of God you move along the path of holiness.
Get rid of the five, add the one, and you will thrive in holiness, you’ll be living the YES.