22You obeyed the truth, and your souls were made pure. Now you sincerely love each other. But you must keep on loving with all your heart. 23Do this because God has given you new birth by his message that lives on forever. 24 The Scriptures say,
“Humans wither like grass,
and their glory fades
like wild flowers.
Grass dries up,
and flowers fall
to the ground.
25But what the Lord has said
will stand forever.”
Our good news to you is what the Lord has said.
A Living Stone and
1Stop being hateful! Quit trying to fool people, and start being sincere. Don't be jealous or say cruel things about others. 2Be like newborn babies who are thirsty for the pure spiritual milk that will help you grow and be saved. 3 You have already found out how good the Lord really is.
People who are in touch with the living God are not satisfied with things that blind us to godliness (pride and sensuality chief among them). Once we have a sense of our own frailty and mortality in the light of God’s perfection and saving grace, we will want to be more godlike. Spiritual growth is of more lasting importance than any riches or acclamation.
Christians are called to be Christike. This means shedding some common human responses in how we relate to other people. Get rid of malice, guile, envy, slander, and insincere action. Think well and speak well of others. Don’t be mean and cutting. Learn to be content with who you are and what you have. Get along.
Behaving in a manner this holy is spiritually demanding. It can only be nurtured by learning to think with habits of love: “Now you sincerely love each other. But you must keep on loving with all your heart.” (1:22). The ironic truth is that living for other people, not for ourselves, is ultimately in our own best interests.
That is how we grow and are saved (2:2). That is spiritual nourishment, the essence of God’s redemptive plan, the Gospel, good news. What do I long for? What have I set my hope on? What are the desires of my heart? Am I geared for things enduring, or satisfied with fleeting pleasures? Am I willing to love my neighbour?
Love flourishes where commitment to God is genuine, revealing itself in ongoing kindness for others – a gentle and accepting attitude that breaks down barriers between people and is blessedly free of the ill-will and insecurity that plague humanity. We are woefully fallible, yet the human spirit guided by the Word and Spirit of the Living God is amazingly wonderful and eternally enduring.
O God, You pour out “pure spiritual milk” to nourish and strengthen my beliefs into a faith that fosters holy living and loving community. I have tasted and seen that the Lord is good. That gives me the strength and confidence to love my neighbours, and to carry on. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.