My newborn son, now approaching five months, is a joy. As he grows out of the quiet newborn stage and into the I-want-to-do-more-things phase of life, I can’t help but find humor in his awkward discovery of the world around him. He’s a sweet boy. He’s easy on his parents. Smiles more than he cries. Eats well. Sleeps well. Is loved by everyone. Yet his transitions in life are coming at him full force, and it’s high comedy watching him maneuver through the very early portions of his life.
Upon his first spoonful of horribly bland oatmeal he gave his sister, mother, and father a look of questionable tendencies. “What is this, why are you giving it to me, and where’s my milk,” undoubtedly was spoken in his baby mind. But he semi-swallowed, opened for more, and entertained many additional feedings since.
Then comes the cup. The natural progression of table food eating ends with a healthy swig of water to cleanse the palette. And much like the meal of oats before, his face upon learning to suck was absolutely priceless. I’m glad things like camera phones and camera videos exist, because he’ll want to see the precocious look he gave his family during this moment.
The food. The cup. He’s simply learning to eat. But along with eating also comes a craving. Bound to a schedule very quickly, my son now has a strong desire to eat. And not just the simple compound of vitamins in milk, but oats, pears, peas, water, etc., etc. And sometimes this craving is overwhelming. So much so that he cranks up the vocal chords and tear ducts faster than his parents can open the refrigerator door to prepare his smorgasbord.
Through his craving of food, and messy faced inhalement of nutrition I’ve learned something about myself. What things do I crave?
In 1 Peter we learn a lot of things about who we need to be as people who sincerely follow the God we call all-knowing, all-seeing, in-all, and of-all. We first are commanded to seek holiness, and Peter leads us down the next turn in the path by assuming we’ve surrendered our lives to constantly separating ourselves from the things that separate us from God. Through that, and Peter points this out, we learn to live selfless lives dedicated to others. And that’s not always easy. And the author knows this, and turns a fantastic theological moment into a beautiful word picture.
1 Peter 2:2
Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation.
So if I’m sold out to God, I’m to crave the Bible as something I need rather than something I want or entertain occasionally? Indeed, Peter is telling us to dig deeper into the essential truths found in Scripture. Not only to dig, but to have an unadulterated or pure need for Godly wisdom found in the Bible.
Like my son, I need food. Together, we also crave food. But what things do we crave? For me, it’s Asian noodle dishes. For him it’s the purity of a smushed pear. The reason we crave two vastly different things is because I’ve experienced things outside of the realm of nutrition. My cravings aren’t built on the absolute need to eat for fear that I won’t eat again, but rather because my mind tells me I like rich foods. Something that he’s yet to find out, but likely will soon enough.
I get what Peter is saying here – he wants me to rediscover a pear. The Bible, and thus the things of God, should be absolutely essential to who I am. Not a side dish or a extra helping of mashed potatoes, but the healthy portion of my spiritual diet.
There’s a reason that God intended babies to drink milk when they were born. He knew thar from an early age the makeup of our bodies could be sustained with several ounces of natural nourishment throughout the day. And while we are dependent on our mothers (and fathers as well) to provide us with that dosage of food, we soon begin to wander outside the simple mineral breakdown of vitamins found in milk. We discover new things. New tastes. New spices. New combinations. But it’s important to always be grounded on the foundational structure that milk originally intended.
God is not calling you or me to buy cows, live on farms, and drink nothing but milk. We all know better (unless you buy cows, live on farms, and drink nothing but milk…you win). What he’s asking us to do is to return to the fundamentals of digestion, spiritually speaking. I should find my craving so insatiable that I constantly munch on Scripture. This becomes the food that fuels every step I take through life. It’s my dietary necessity for living life.
Much like my son craves nourishing foods, and to some extent his milk, I too need to crave the God who formed me in his image, and by extension the road map given to me to accomplish his glorification. So skip the Oreos the next time you are at the store.