It doesn’t take long to see that our society has become increasingly aware of the need to eat healthy foods that benefit the body. I grew up on a steady diet of doritos, sour punch straws and vanilla Dr. Pepper, but I’ve learned that to keep that kind of diet going would be detrimental to my health. (However, I thoroughly enjoyed my junk food eating freedom as a child:) The truth is, there are counterfeit foods that fill our bodies with harmful additives and preservatives. It is becoming easier for customer’s at grocery stores to pick the real from the fake. However, we need to be educated so that we aren’t deceived by producers that put just the right words to entice us to buy something that truly isn’t good for our health. Our bodies were created for pure, simple and natural foods, but our tongues have been tricked to crave what does not satisfy.
The same is true for our spiritual souls. We have indulged increasingly in worldly pleasures and “acceptable sins” that we can easily hide that we don’t know what is the real from the fake. Peter implores us in 1 Peter 2:1 to “put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.” What a list! If someone is seeking to lose excess weight and making healthy eating choices, they don’t leave a box of chocolates on their kitchen table. They take everything out of the house, out of sight and out of arm’s reach so they won’t be tempted to induldge. Peter is telling us to do the same with these common sins. The word for “put away” literally means to put out of reach. What exactly are these things he is telling us are poison to our soul?
- Malice– ill-will, desire to injure, depravity – Malice takes shape in different ways in our hearts. Have you ever wished that something bad would happen to someone? Have you rejoiced at calamity that has happened to another? Maybe they did something wrong to hurt you and now a similar situation has happened to them. Malice kills Christian brotherly love. Christ’s fervent love for us led Him to the cross to die for our sins against Him. As believers, we have no room to hold another’s sins against them. Is there someone you need to seek forgiveness from today?
- Deceit– craft, guile – Deceit creeps it’s way into the church through gossip, pride and self-centeredness. Have you ever been deceived by a friend or a church leader that shocked you? The roots of deceit are embedded in the soil of untold sin. The more we try to cover up mistakes or past sins, the more crafty we get at hiding. We need to get rid of all deceit in our hearts, and the way to do this is to dig up the roots.
- Hypocrisy– the act of a stage player – Hypocrisy is increasingly becoming easier for believers to hide behind. We pick up the mask of the iPhone and hide behind a persona we have created on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. However, the world sees the fakeness of many people who claim Christ. To be a hypocrite is to play a part that truly isn’t who you are. What stage have you been performing on? In what ways have your actions not lined up with your claim to be a Jesus-follower?
- Envy– jealousy – Envy robs us of our joy and makes what we have into not enough. It steals our confidence in Christ is a tool Satan uses to place the focus of our hearts back on ourselves. In what situations do struggle with envy? If social media causes you to stumble, remove it from your life. If the blessings of someone else causes you to struggle, ask the Lord to help you rejoice in what He is doing in their life along with what He is doing in yours. God longs for us to not only be content in Him and in what He has given, but to overflow with thanks and praise!
- Slander– evil speaking of others – Slander is detrimental to healthy Christian relationships. Gossip creates dissension in the church and is rooted in pride. Slander can sneak into healthy relationships as well. Do you go to your husband to speak about another? Or to your mom or your best friend? When we talk ill about another, we are sinning against the person listening as well. We are filling their ears with lies in order for our own pride to be built up.
Just like a diet of junk food is detrimental to the body, so is a diet of these sins detrimental to the spiritual life. Notice that Peter didn’t list murder and adultery in this list. He went straight to issues of the heart. We can hide behind these sins very easily, especially in a world that is increasingly becoming social media and internet driven. However, the grace of God is greater than our sins. As a believer and follower of Jesus, He cannot and will not leave us with a steady diet of sin in our lives. He calls us out of sin and into His truth. He is the source of nourishment for our souls.
The beauty of motherhood and nursing comes into play here. When a baby is born, the best nutrients for the babies body naturally come from the mother’s own body. You don’t have to teach a baby that they need milk because they naturally crave it. No mother would give her newborn child a straw and bottle of coca-cola to drink. In order for the baby to grow and be strong and healthy, they need the proper nutrients and the purity of milk that comes from the mother. As Christians, we need the purity of the Word of God in order to grow. We can’t survive off of Jesus Calling and a verse here and there on Twitter. We NEED the pure Word of God to fill our souls with nourishment and strength. There is no substitute for Scripture. The more you read the Bible, the more your soul will cry out for more!
We will never grow in our walk with Jesus if we feast on the appetizers of the world that never fill us up or strengthen us. The Bible is full of meat and insurmountable treasures, yet we often eat too much junk to even get to the real stuff. Let us put aside everything that tangles us up and fills us with emptiness. Eating bits and pieces of the world and faith is like surviving off of cotton candy. It looks like there’s so much there, yet you can eat a lot of it in an instant. It isn’t nourishing and it doesn’t last. The “pure spiritual milk” of the Gospel not only saves, it restores us and gives us abundant life right now. There’s no waiting. God has given us more than we will ever need…He is just waiting on us to open the book and feast.
Let’s fill our souls with the Word of God today.