But how are we to grow? Staying with the picture of newborn babies, we note Peter’s reference in verse 2 to ‘pure spiritual milk’: ‘Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.’
In other words, just as the secret of the healthy growth of a child is the regularity of a right diet, so daily disciplined feeding is the major condition of spiritual growth.
What then is the milk which we are to consume if we are to grow into Christian maturity? According to the TNIV it is ‘pure spiritual milk’. The Greek adjective is logikos. This could mean ‘metaphysical’ as opposed to literal cow’s milk, or ‘rational’ meaning food for the mind as for the body, or ‘the milk of the word’, as in 1:23. Certainly God’s word is as indispensable to our spiritual growth as maternal milk is to a baby’s growth. ‘Crave it,’ Peter urges, ‘now that you have tasted that the Lord is good’ (verse 3). E. G. Selwyn in his commentary suggests that Peter has in mind ‘the ardour of a suckled child’. You have had a taste, Peter seems to be saying, now get a thirst.
There is a great need for daily discipline in the Christian life. William Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury during the Second World War, said to a large crowd of young people:
The loyalty of Christian youth must be first and foremost to Christ himself. Nothing can take the place of the daily time of intimate companionship with the Lord … make time for it somehow and secure that it is real.
John Stott, The Radical Disciple: Wholehearted Christian Living (Nottingham, England: Inter-Varsity Press, 2010), 91–92.
John Stott, The Radical Disciple: Wholehearted Christian Living (Nottingham, England: Inter-Varsity Press, 2010), 19–21.
I have just completed a series of lessons based on John Stott’s book, The Radical Disciple. They are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle versions, as well as part of my Good Questions Have Groups Talking Subscription service. For a medium-sized church, lesson subscriptions are only $10 per teacher per year. Lessons correspond with three of Lifeway’s outlines as well as the International Standard Series. In addition, you get access to lessons like The Radical Disciple
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