Newborn Babes

Mike Tompkins | January 19, 2018

1 Peter 1:13–2:3

Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”

And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, because, “All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away, but the word of the LORD endures forever.”

Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you. Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

—1 Peter 1:13–2:3, NKJV

We have recently observed our youngest grandchild as he learned to talk. For quite some time, we babbled to him and he babbled back. Then the repertoire expanded to sounds made by animals and the usual phrases picked up by all young children.

In November, while we were praying together at our holiday feast, I watched him watching his mother saying the prayer that the Lord taught His disciples. I saw him moving his lips to match his mother’s and beginning to make the sounds she had evidently begun to teach him.

Then at Christmas, I heard him say the words of the prayer himself; and though not all the words were distinct, (“forgive us our transgressions” was a bit rough) he pronounced his way intrepidly to “Amen”—which he declared with enthusiastic authority.

Watching him learn to pray laid a touchstone for me, and I remembered my dad and mom standing beside my bed, helping my brother and I to pray.

I clearly remember the night they began to teach us the Lord’s Prayer. That teaching was the beginning of faith in me. And now I thank God, through tears of gratitude, that He has helped my son and daughter to help my grandson begin his own journey in faith—to be “not just a hearer of the word, but a doer of the work.”

As Moses and Joshua reminded the children of Israel:

You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.

—Deuteronomy 11:19, NKJV

Then [Joshua] spoke to the children of Israel, saying: “When your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, ‘What are these stones?’ then you shall let your children know, saying, ‘Israel crossed over this Jordan on dry land’; for the LORD your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed over, as the LORD your God did to the Red Sea, which He dried up before us until we had crossed over, that all the peoples of the earth may know the hand of the LORD, that it is mighty, that you may fear the LORD your God forever.

—Joshua 4:21-24, NKJV

Despite all these reminders and more, we forget. Not only to teach our children, but we forget to remain as babes ourselves. We forget to remain infants, relying on our Father. We are caught when we fall to the temptation of our own false wisdom and miss revelation, as Jesus himself said:

I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight.

—Matthew 11:25–26, NKJV

So Peter urges us: “As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2, NKJV).

Questions for reflection and discussion: Why does Peter call us to overcome sophistication, and learn like an infant? How can you do this in 2018, and model it for those around you? 

This week's devotions were written by Mike Tompkins. Mike and his wife Linda have five adult children and five grandchildren. They found WBC in 1991, joined the Providence adult community, continued with Connections, and have shared life together with many small groups.

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