Baby Like Appetites

1 Peter 2:2,3 – as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious. 

One man began by saying, “I’m so hungry I could eat a cow.” The second man, joined in “I’m so hungry I could eat a horse.” “I’m so hungry I could eat a bear”, countered another. Not to be outdone the fourth man said, “I’m so hungry I could eat two alligators and an anaconda.” A woman who overheard the conversation said, “I think I just lost my appetite.”

How can we rid ourselves of spiritual junk food and come out of wicked spiritual anorexia and emaciation? Cultivate an appetite for the pure milk of the Word. After first putting off the malice, deceit and hypocrisies of our former life we must replace our appetite for sin with an craving for God’s Word.

Our appetite for spiritual food must be like the desire that a newborn would have for real milk. Many mistake this passage as referring to new converts. However, we are to have a desire for God’s Word like babies crave milk. IF you have been around a newborn who is hungry, there is only one thing you can do to stop the crying – give it milk. When you hunger for God’s Word like that you will grow. Even grown Christians must continue to cultivate this intense appetite for the Scriptures. In the Beatitudes Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled” (Matt. 5:6)

We read of this type of desire in the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15). After he wasted all his money he “longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything” (16). He was moved to return to his father. In the Psalms we read of this type of desire for God’s Word, “My soul breaks with longing for Your judgments at all times” or “I opened my mouth and panted, for I longed for Your commandments” (Ps. 119:20,131).

If a baby losses its appetite and stops eating you know something is wrong. The same is true of the Christian. Often the appetite can be dulled by gobbling up spiritual junk food. We fill our souls with TV, magazines, sports, etc. Even preaching that tickles the itching ears of the audience can be spiritual junk food which only nourishes self-centeredness.

So, in cultivating an appetite…

• Begin reading your Bible 15 minutes a day.
• Parents, read to your children–before bed, at the dinner table, wherever.
• Bring your Bible to church and take notes.
• Attend a weekly Bible study.
• Replace a half hour TV show (or secular book reading) with a half hour of Bible reading.
• Purchase Bible study aids such as a concordance, Bible handbook, dictionary, etc.
• Most importantly do what it says.

On the menu is the Word of God. The spiritual manna from Heaven Keep in mind that Peter is not referring to the “milk of the Word”, that is, the fundamental facts of Christianity.

The milk of the Word is of the most excellent quality: it is pure or unadulterated. In ancient times milk was often adulterated with gypsum, a chalky-like substance to increase its volume. The early Christian writer Irenaeus said, “They mix gypsum with the milk, they taint the heavenly doctrine with the poison of their errors.” We long for the Gospel without any mixture of false doctrine, human philosophies or traditions of men. Those without a love for the pure Word will want it sweetened with religious entertainment and the Social Gospel, which is not the pure Gospel of Christ. However, the Psalmist found the Word of God sweet, “How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through Your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way” (Psalm 119:13,14).

The purpose of a baby’s intense appetite for milk is for it to grow physically. The reason we need such an appetite is to grow spiritually toward salvation. Salvation refers not to our present condition but to the hope of eternal life in the future. Through the Word the Christian grows toward his goal – Heaven.

If your mother has ever placed a new dish on the table you will be encouraged to taste it with these words, “Try it, you’ll like it.” Peter’s argument is not: “try the Word to see if you like it”. Instead He is saying, if you have already in the past experienced the gracious heavenly gift you will naturally have an appetite for the Word. It is a taste that excites the appetite. “Since you have tasted that the Lord is good, continue to feed on His Word.” Someone has said that Christianity is like Campbell’s soul it is “mmm, mmm, good”.

Far too many Christians who have tasted the goodness of God’s grace, do not long to feed on His Word. Instead, they are content with an occasional sip. As a result, they are spiritually weak and thin. The blame may be placed on the boring sermons, difficult passages, unreadable translations, etc. Yet the truth is, they just don’t have a hunger for righteousness and the goodness of God. Just a sip and a nibble, nothing that will fill their souls and satisfy their deep longings.

– Daniel R. Vess 

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