Peter challenges his readers in 1 Peter 2:2-3 with a reference to newborn infants. But here he is not calling them “babies” as a pejorative to challenge them to grow with respect to biblical truth (Hebrews). Here, Peter calls them — and us — to be “like babies” with respect to pure spiritual milk.
“Pure spiritual milk” here is the Word of God, the teaching of the gospel, revealed truth.
And followers of Christ are to crave that Word as an infant craves it’s mother’s milk. Here are a few things we should remember in keeping with Peter’s imagery:
Infants don’t need to be told to crave milk. Parents don’t typically waste time suggesting to the baby “try it you’ll like it,” or “drain your bottle and you can go ride your bike.” Infants know — with a God-placed desire — that it needs milk to survive and thrive. Believers should be the same toward the Bible.
Infants don’t need fancy methods to consume milk.Despite angled bottles, PBA-free plastic, and a plethora of nipple apertures (you parents know what I’m talking about), God designed a very simple method of delivering a mother’s milk to the baby. We, too, get distracted sometimes with the various Bible-reading tools, when the simplest thing is to simply read the Bible.
Infants are single-minded in their focus on getting milk. Sure, infants are troubled by gas and need to be burped. Sure, milk is digested and produces by-products (hopefully) caught in the diaper. But for the infant, the burping and digesting and eliminating is all simply creating space for more milk. That is focused devotion. Believers should be as concerned to consume the Word.
Infants don’t confine their consumption of milk to a schedule. For some believers, the schedule of Bible consumption is merely weekly: they might hear a little bit on Sunday morning. For some, the schedule includes Bible reading during quiet times and devotions. But a schedule is a schedule, and we would be very concerned if an infant only desired milk for thirty minutes before work each day. Babies consume milk anytime, anywhere. Believers, take note.
Infants aren’t concerned with who sees them nursing. Nursing mothers are understandably sensitive to the time and place that they feed the baby, because of others who might be around. Unwanted attention could be embarrassing for all involved. But have you ever seen an infant check for privacy before nursing? Do you avoid carrying your Bible because of what people will think? Would you only read it at lunch if you could hide it behind the newspaper?
If newborns and infants don’t crave milk, we know that something is terribly wrong.
Crave the Word.