Our personal responsibility to grow in faith - 13 April 2022
By Ewald Schmidt
- 1 Peter 2:1-3
Rid yourselves, then, of all evil; no more lying or hypocrisy or jealousy or insulting language. Be like newborn babies, always thirsty for the pure spiritual milk, so that by drinking it you may grow up and be saved. As the scripture says, “You have found out for yourselves how kind the Lord is.”
Peter said that something had happened that changed the whole foundation of the life we are now living in this world. We had tasted God’s goodness! We had tasted his grace and love in our own lives. We found that we were redeemed by the precious blood of Christ. We are now new creations, living with a new hope. We have tasted God’s goodness, we have experienced it ourselves, taken it in, and made it part of our being.
Once we have tasted God’s goodness, we discover that there are things that do not taste as good any longer. Because God has renewed our lives, our hearts and minds, there are things in life that no longer agree with us. We need to get rid of all malice.
We should be pure, and never harbour deceit of any kind in our lives. Hypocrisy is to have the appearance of holiness, but not having the change of heart that Christ wants to see. Envy happens when we are not at peace with ourselves, when we are ungrateful for what God has done or given in our lives. When we are envious, we accuse God of not taking good care of us. We also measure our perceived worth against another, accusing God of favouritism of the other person. When we slander, we use words to harm other people, to sow seeds of discontent with our words. We are actively sabotaging God’s good work through negative words. All these symptoms indicate an unchanged heart, untouched by God’s mercy. When we get to know God’s goodness, these evil thoughts and deeds need to go.
But our new life in Christ is not only comprised of rules we need avoid. We are being transformed into the likeness of Christ. Yes, everything that does not glorify Christ must go. But at the same time we are being built up in his image. How will we know how to grow? We need to taste the goodness of God in his Word! We need to crave the pure spiritual milk like newborn babies. We are to be desperate for the Word of God, hungry to know him better, yearning to know more, and grow more. This is a daily need, a daily spiritual discipline that transforms our lives.
In the time we spend with God in his Word, he transforms our lives. He shows us the things not benefitting our new lives. He helps us with the power of his Spirit to conquer all the old, negative thoughts and deeds. He inspires us to see the new possibilities and opportunities to serve, love, and grow. We discover that God has done all the hard work of making us his children. Now the responsibility falls on us to surrender to him, to spend time with him, to grow in his love.
Prayer: Lord, I thank you for all your goodness in my life. Thank you that you have done everything needed for me to be your child. Transform my life through the study of your Word. Show me all that does not honour you in my life, and help me to leave it behind. Fill me with your love, and help me to love others as Christ loves them. Amen