Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.” (1 Peter 2:2, NIV)

In December 2019, during my annual physical, I was advised by my doctor that physically I was in good shape, but I would be healthier if I lost some weight. Yes, the older we get, it is easier to gain pounds than shed them. So, on January 13, 2020, I committed to taking responsibility for my health and started my journey. I am a registered nurse, and I know that losing weight was about modifying my lifestyle to change my diet (what I ate), exercise, and sleep habits. In addition, after consistently practicing healthier habits, I knew I would eventually reap the benefits.

In the same way, the Christian must develop and practice a consistent lifestyle that includes personal Bible study for spiritual health. The Bible feeds the soul and is essential to our spiritual growth. In 1 Peter 2:2, Peter describes how we approach God’s Word to grow.

The Right Attitude

First, we must have the right attitude about God’s Word. Peter uses the analogy of a newborn baby. Whether or not the baby grows depends on the type of nourishment it receives after birth. When we are born again in Christ, the work of salvation is complete in us, but we have a whole lot of growing to do. The baby begins with milk to sustain its physical life, and the Christian must begin with the Word of God to maintain our spiritual life.

The Right Appetite

Secondly, Peter says that if we want to grow spiritually, we must have the right appetite for God’s Word. “Crave pure spiritual milk.” Crave means to long and hunger for it. The problem is that some believers do not have a craving for the Word of God. Instead, we approach the Word like its castor oil, “bitter to the taste.” My parents would give us castor oil when I was a child. I did not understand why, but we took it because our parents said it was good for what was wrong with us. All we could do was create ways to take the castor oil. I would hold my nose, swallow it, and quickly suck on a lemon to get rid of the taste.  Some of us treat the Word of God in this way. It is suitable for what is wrong with us at the time, but it is hard going down into our hearts and souls. As soon as our symptoms disappear, we stop taking daily doses of the Word. Peter is saying that we must have an insatiable appetite for God’s Word. How do we acquire this kind of appetite? Treat the Word like we are sitting down to our favorite meal and feast on it!

The Right Aim

In addition to the right attitude and appetite, we must also have the right aim for God’s Word. Peter says the purpose is so that we may grow. Notice he did not say, “so that we might know.” Although spiritual growth would be impossible without knowing the Word, we can “know” the Word and not grow. In other words, it is in our heads but not in our hearts.

The redemptive story of the Bible is our standard and guide. It teaches us about who God is, His character, and His attributes. The Bible teaches us how to be more like our Savior, our Lord, Jesus. The biblical truths of the Bible can transform our lives and the lives of others.

My health journey started in January 2020. By March 2020, the entire world was on lockdown because of the Covid-19 pandemic. I spent weeks alone, away from my family, but God was always present. I had opportunities to overeat and regain the pounds that I had already lost. However, it was my insatiable desire for God’s Word that encouraged me and kept me on track. I listened to the Bible when I walked daily. I renewed my commitment to prayer. I was online at church every Sunday and prayed with others in a prayer group. I reminded myself that these disciplines for maintaining spiritual growth were vital for living a healthier lifestyle. My doctor had encouraged me to lose twenty pounds, but she was kind. By January 2021, I lost forty-five pounds. Today, I am maintaining my weight, and I am physically healthier. Spiritually, I feel refreshed, renewed, and still growing. I will not stop seeking to grow until Christ returns or I die.

If we want to turn our good intentions into obedience to God’s commands, we must have the right attitude, appetite, and aim towards God’s Word.