“Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation — if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good” (1 Peter 2:2-3).
When Peter tells the believers in Rome to be “like newborn infants,” he is not insulting them. He is challenging them to desire the things of God with the same veracity that a baby desires his mother’s milk. When that baby wants milk, he will do whatever is in his power to obtain it. That newborn will cry. He will nuzzle, sometimes aggressively. He will not stop until he has what he wants and, if someone was to try to unlatch him from his prize, he will immediately start crying and bucking again until he has had his fill. He does this by instinct, by the way — no one needs to teach him to cry out for milk when he is hungry. And once a child has tasted this milk for the first time, that desire grows stronger, so that every time he is hungry, the first thought for that baby is a craving for that milk, because that milk tastes so good!
Peter uses the analogy of a hungry baby to teach us about how we are to relate to God. We believers should crave a deeper relationship with God. We should desire greater knowledge of God, more frequent fellowship and communion with Him, more intimacy with Him. We should hunger for God, for more of Him day after day after day. No one needs to teach us that because this hunger is supernaturally instilled in us when we are made a new creation. God created within us a desire for Him, a desire that should be every bit as strong as the desire a baby has for milk.
As you look inward, examining and testing yourself to “see if you are in the faith” (2 Corinthians 13:5), ask yourself what you desire the most. Do you desire watching that favorite Netflix show more than spending time reading God’s Word? Do you desire a weekend in the mountains more than enjoying fellowship with other believers at church on Sunday morning? Do you desire the nice comfortable life promised by the American Dream more than an unpredictable, hard life of sacrificially serving God?
Desiring God starts with knowing God more.
Do you look at your Sunday school teacher or pastor’s biblical knowledge and think, “Wow, they know so much about the Bible. I could never know that much.” Why can’t you know that much? Is it because you want to but can’t, or because you don’t think it’s spending the time necessary to get there?
Do you hear the testimony of someone in the church leading another to Christ and think, “Wow, that’s pretty neat, but I could never do that.” Why can’t you do that? Is it because you don’t know a single non-believer, or because you WON’T take the risk necessary to share the gospel with a non-believing friend?
Do you hear about the prayer life of George Mueller or Martin Luther or that lady who sits in the back row at your church, and think, “Wow, it’s very commendable to pray so much, but I could never do that.” Why can’t you pray like that? Is it because someone is forcing you not to, or because you aren’t willing to make the time to spend significant times during the day in prayer?
“Like newborn infants, LONG for the pure spiritual milk” — long for it, crave it, want it so badly you will stop at nothing to get it. Why? Because it is what makes you grow and because you’ve had a real encounter with God (“tasted the Lord is good”) and can’t think of anything you’d want more.
So many Christians today are spiritually malnourished. They say they’ve had a saving experience with God, but don’t know His Word. They don’t know how to pray. They won’t give. They won’t share their faith. They show no evidence of growth. If a newborn baby stops craving milk and refuses to let it nourish him, he will wither. In extreme cases, he will die. Can you see the spiritual application here, Christian? If you drink up that pure spiritual milk, you will grow. If you don’t, you won’t, and that which doesn’t grow, eventually dies! That desire for Him comes from Him, so ask Him for it- He wants to give it to you!