Growing Pains

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Today’s Scripture: 1 Peter 2

As Peter continues in Chapter 2, he is addressing Jewish believers struggling in the midst of persecution. In the first verse, he identifies areas of behavior humans struggle with everyday—both believers and non-believers: “So get rid of all evil behavior. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech.” Is this way of life even possible?

Maybe, just maybe, one critical key to living the life described in verse one is uncovered in the following verses:

1 Peter 2:2-3 (emphasis added)
2 Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, 3 now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness.

Why grow? Because otherwise, we remain “baby” Christ-followers. A baby needs much parenting. Truly, a Christ-follower should outgrow spiritual diapers, spiritual playpens (now I am showing my age), spiritual baby bottles, etc. Yet, unless Christ-followers intentionally grow, spiritual maturation never takes place.

Verse 2 clearly speaks of the root cause of slow learning. The failure to “crave pure spiritual milk” causes spiritual malnutrition. My experience (and observation) is that there is a HUGE difference between attending church and becoming a Christ-follower. Until believers become Christ-followers, the likelihood of beginning the never-ending process to “get rid of all evil behavior,” to “be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech” will never begin. These spiritual exercises are not one-time events for Christ-followers. And these exercises are not for the faint-hearted.

Even while writing this piece, a separate conversation with a dear CedarCreek friend caused my mind to revisit an unfortunate “heated” conversation that occurred in a Christian environment years ago. That, my friend, is Satan at work—tempting me to go back there and recall, in detail, the thoughtless dialog by a brother in Christ. I could easily smear him with unkind speech for the foolishness that came out of his mouth.

Thankfully, having identified that temptation, I refuse to allow my thoughts to take that trip. God calls me to a higher place, where forgiveness, grace, mercy, and genuine sisterly love thrive. He calls me to take up residence in the very place I need others to visit frequently when remembering me—and the countless hurtful interactions I am responsible for or participated in willingly. Maybe, just maybe, he is calling you to that higher place, too.

Questions:
Are you intentionally doing spiritual exercises as portrayed in verses 1-3? What spiritual exercises might you engage in with a “coach” for spiritual “strength training”?

Next Steps:
Apply the reading of Chapter 2 to yourself. Evaluate areas of strength—where you are growing? Evaluate areas of weakness—areas where specific focus would be beneficial. Find an accountability partner willing to participate in the goal of growing “into a full experience of salvation” together. Pray for God’s direction in spiritually maturing.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, I desire to “grow into a full experience of salvation.” Grant me clarity as I seek to grow spiritually. Help me identify the people currently in my life best able to offer guidance on this journey. If necessary, bring new people into my life to facilitate the process of spiritual maturation. Give me the ability to discern your will in my life. Please make me spiritually uncomfortable whenever I stray from what you think is best for me. I desire to serve you and your people with the talents you have given me as I grow in you. In Jesus’ name, amen.


This post was written by Karen Peck, a regular contributor to the LivingItOut Bible Study.


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3 replies
  1. Julie Buehrle Estep
    Julie Buehrle Estep says:

    I remember the verse about craving pure spiritual milk meant a great deal to me as a new believer. As an “old” believer, I need reminders to keep growing. Thank you for the reminder Karen!

  2. Casey Stengel
    Casey Stengel says:

    That was great! I think I just grew a little with the new look on spiritual growth. Gotta give into that craving for milk.

  3. Cathy Thibodeau
    Cathy Thibodeau says:

    Thank you, Karen, for your insightful writing today. And especially for that wonderful prayer at the end!

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