Entry #7 - Things I long for...
What does it mean to long for something? What does longing look like or how does it feel? Good questions to Google!
Synonyms: craving; eager; languish, pining, yearning, anxious, ardent, avid, hungry, ravenous, wishful.
So, I ask myself: Who or what do I long for?
I remember my grandmother saying she was hungry for her children. That woman loved her family and was in her happy place when all her children were home with her. Hungry for her children was a wonderful way to express the longing in her heart to be with her children. I am pretty sure there were times when she was ravenous for them!
There are certainly people in my life that I am hungry to see and be with. In this season of life, I yearn for deep and close relationships with people who live in the same town as I do! Sometimes I think I am languishing without them. I crave fellowship with those who could spend all night long talking about Jesus.
While not as intense, I long for other things too. On some level, longing helps me accomplish certain tasks because I long for what the completed task brings. As I think about it, longing can be a very strong motivator. Longing can also get me in a lot of trouble.
As I read, wrote and journal-ed 1 Peter 2:1-3, the words "long for" jumped off the page. It says that like a newborn baby, I am to "long for" the pure milk of the word. The outcome? So that by it (the word) I may grow in respect to my salvation.
What a wonderful visual. If a baby doesn't get the pure milk, that baby will not be nourished and cannot grow. A baby longs for, is eager, craves and yearns for, is hungry and ravenous for milk. It's innate and instinctive. You don't have to tell a baby to be hungry. At a certain point in a baby's life, it needs pure milk and only milk. But, what if you gave the baby everything but milk. See where I am going with this?
Like a newborn baby, I am to "long for" the pure milk of the word so that by it I can grow in respect to salvation. If I try to satisfy that spiritually innate and instinctive hunger for God with other than the Word, I won't grow spiritually. I will languish. I have languished. I have tried to satisfy my hunger and cravings and yearnings with things other than the word of God. I don't think I even realized this was what I was doing. Interestingly and at the time, I didn't realize I wasn't growing spiritually or languishing. I was hungry to be and do and experience all this world has to offer. Some of the things I longed for weren't bad things. "Longing for" isn't wrong and sometimes is just part of being human. If I am honest, I have to bring this into the present. Some of the things I currently "long for" aren't bad things and longing for them isn't wrong but in fact is natural.
But, here's where this verse pricked my heart. Is my "longing for" the pure milk of the Word greater than my "longing for" all these other things? Am I trying to satisfy myself with other than the pure milk of God's Word? Are my "longings" motivating me to satisfy with things other than the Word of God when only the Word of God can fill the longing and produce the spiritual growth I need?
Bottom line: Do I long for God and growing in my intimate and personal relationship with Him through His word as much as I long for all the other things in my life?
As I tie these questions and thoughts back into what I've been journal-ing about in 1 Peter, I am reminded over and over again of just how much and often I need God's Word. I need to constantly prepare my mind for action and put aside former thinking and behaviors. I think about the trials of this life and how hurts and disappointments can mess with my mind and heart. But, if I am going to grow and be nourished spiritually, I must "long for" the Word of God. Just like a baby that longs for pure milk. There is no substitute.
Oh, but I've tasted so many other things. I now have so many other things I crave, yearn and are hungry for... Often I don't even know I am languishing spiritually until the signs of being spiritually malnourished are undeniable (malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander to name a few mentioned in 1 Peter 2).
So, how do I get my taste back for God's Word? 1 Peter 2:3 tells me to taste the kindness of the Lord. Taste that sweet morsel of truth. Savor it. Tasting the kindness of the Lord stirs up my taste buds and causes me to long for the Word of God. Tasting the kindness of the Lord reminds me that God's Word is the pure milk I need to live this life of faith in Jesus. There is no substitute. It's the pure Word of God. As I gulp down the Word of God, it nourishes me and grows me up spiritually, changing my thinking and behavior.