Nourished by God’s Word

Hey, friends!

It’s been a long time. I dropped off the radar with writing for a while there because I’ve had an unexpected life change. My sweet mom passed away on July 7. There were no known medical conditions and she was in excellent health; she was just finally invited home.

She was a precious woman, my biggest cheerleader, and the proudest grandma you’ve ever met. We shared so many laughs together: over ‘funny faces’ in people’s kneecaps (you just had to be there), mispronounced words, and silly videos. What I love most about her is that her heart fully belonged to Jesus. He had been her First Love for many, many years now, and nobody waited on Him quite as tenderly and faithfully as she did. Whatever He spoke, without delay, she would do—and with such cheerfulness! She raised my sister and me to memorize Bible verses, and until her last day on earth, she was filling her heart with Scripture. Our Savior, her dearest and closest Friend, was her whole world. Truly “her children rise up and call her blessed” (Proverbs 31:28). I feel supremely fortunate that I was able to call her “mother” for 30 wonderful years… but I do wish our time together was longer.

I’ve lost count of the kindnesses shown to me by people from literally all around the world. Here in Pennsylvania, friends in the Phoenix area and Seattle and central Missouri, colleagues and friends scattered all around the United States, missionary friends in Spain and France and Greece and other European nations, sweet notes from Latin American missionaries… There are so many. While the loss of one’s mom at a young age is overwhelming, I have felt nearly equally overwhelmed by the Body of Christ rising up to cover me. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

Anyway, with the abrupt transition, writing slipped to the back burner to make room in my life to deal with paperwork, projects, finances, and all the ho-hum busyness that must follow death in 2019. But I have been itching to get back to writing. It’s always such an outlet for me, and I believe I have worthwhile things to say—as long as Jesus is burning in my heart!

So for my foray back into blogging, I want to write about 1 Peter 2.

Peter writes, “Abandon every form of evil, deceit, hypocrisy, feelings of jealousy, and slander. In the same way that nursing infants cry for milk, you must intensely crave the pure spiritual milk of God’s Word. For this ‘milk’ will cause you to grow into maturity, fully nourished and strong for life—especially now that you have had a taste of the goodness of the Lord Jehovah and have experienced His kindness” (verses 1-3).

There is so much in this tiny paragraph! You can spend a long time dissecting the hellish evils that we must abandon, but I want to look at the milk that makes us mature.

Students of the Bible almost unanimously agree that this “milk” is God’s Word because of the expression “spiritual milk.” The word “spiritual” is logikos and is almost a play on words with what Peter states previously in 1:23-25 concerning the living Word, logos, of God. Therefore, consistently and generously drawing on God’s words will cause us to flourish and mature in life! Amen!

Certainly modern Christians would do well to understand this as practicing the joyful discipline of ingesting Scripture on a daily basis—and joyful it is! Most joyful! Scientific studies tell us that our human bodies crave what we feed it. For example, if we feed ourselves ice cream and cookies, we will inevitably want more ice cream and cookies. If we feed ourselves veggies and fish, in time we will crave more veggies and fish. I have found the same to be true spiritually: the more we read the Bible, the more we want to read the Bible.

(For a bit on the authority and inerrancy of the Bible, read my post here.)

Now, as I read this passage in 1 Peter, I recalled Jesus’ words in the wilderness as He was tempted by the adversary. He quoted Deuteronomy 8:3, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’ ” (Matthew 4:4). What’s fascinating here is the verb tense Jesus used. A more literal translation might render this passage something like this: “Man lives on every ongoing word that is continually proceeding out of the mouth of God.” We can learn from this that humans cannot live by merely sleeping, eating, exercising, and even accomplishing spiritual disciplines—but we need, for our existence, to feed on the fresh words that God is presently speaking to our hearts. Did you catch that? We need not only the words that God has spoken in the past (the Bible) but also the revelation that God is continually revealing day to day!

Of course, let me be the first to remind us all that there is never inconsistency in God’s words. His Word revealed in Scripture and His fresh words spoken to our hearts today will always align. And, as Jesus taught us, we live on His Word: both the Bible and our communion with Him in prayer as He speaks.

Believers, let’s crave that pure spiritual milk: God’s written Word and God’s ongoing words. Feasting on this will strengthen us and mature us. Without a deep, sincere passion for listening for God, a person will wither and soon waste away. Oh, friends, we must lean in close and actively listen. Yes, take a deep drink of the rich beauty of the King, and be satisfied.

My heart,
Josh

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