Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.~1 Peter 2:1-3 NIV
I balanced on the exam room table, bent at the waist, head down. My wife Kym held my hand. We were bracing for the unwelcomed diagnosis.
“You have Type 2 diabetes,” the doctor said matter-of-factly.
I felt gut-punched. Even though I knew this diagnosis was coming, the doctor’s words made it a reality to me. He went through some paperwork, which I tried to concentrate on, but I knew what I must do. The doctor exited, and we made our way to the check-out counter.
“We need to go home and clean house,” I said to Kym. “Every piece of junk food in our pantry is going in the trash. We have got to get rid of all of it, and adjust how we think about eating.”
“Let’s check the fridge too,” Kym said with a wince. She had just made me a goodie, but she and I both knew it was going to be trashed.
Although not all diabetes is due to food choices, I knew that in my case this was a contributing factor. I needed to make a change, and I was eager to do so. I was also well aware of the fact that this was a family matter–because Kym supported me, I was certain I would succeed. Family support was vital, and I knew I had it.
One decision Kym and I made after we cleaned our fridge was to start shopping from our local produce stand. We needed to replace junk food with the real stuff—and garden produce could give my body the nourishment it was craving. We needed to be purposeful in what we allowed to enter our house, and this started by choosing the best foods available to us.
In Peter 2:1-3, the disciple talks about cleaning house in the spiritual realm. But instead of food needing a look-over, it is our attitudes he tells us to adjust. Peter says we must get rid of malice, deceit, envy, hypocrisy, and slander.
Wow! That’s a tall order. How do we do this effectively? Peter tells us to replace these with “pure spiritual milk.” With this, he refers to the Bible. We need to make the choice to prioritize reading our Bibles. A baby cannot go without milk, and in the spiritual realm, neither can we. God gives us fundamental truths–spiritual “milk”–as our start.
We need to make sure we are harvesting good fruits from our spiritual gardens and uprooting bad fruits. We need to tend our spiritual gardens by pulling up the weeds of doubt, fear, disbelief, as well as those Peter mentioned—malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, slander, and other attitudes. The enemy of our souls is constantly trying to sow these into our gardens. So, we must be watchful, and continuously tend to our gardens so our faith in God strengthens.
This spiritual care must be intentional, just as I must watch the foods I consume. If I had gone home and paid no attention to the doctor’s advice and learned to conquer the diabetic disease that had come upon me, then it could have caused havoc on my physical body. It is the same in the spiritual realm; we must be intentional.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.~Galatians 5:22 NIV
Peter’s solution is readily available to us. Our Bibles serve as milk, which is nourishment to our spirits. We start there, and then, we read some more, learning to know the Bible in every intricacy.
We study more, until we are eating the “meat” of the Word along with the milk, as well as every spiritual fruit God has available for us–that of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control that Paul mentions in Galatians 5:22 NIV. We are satiated with the deeper truths as well as the fundamental truths of our faith.
Just as I know I have begun a journey of learning how to eat well, so must we hear the Word, read thee Word, and consume its truths as the best sustenance. What’s more, God comes alongside us to help us every step of our journey.
What unhealthy habit can you replace with a nourishing, spiritual fruit?
Heavenly Father, help me to examine my spiritual garden. I desire to get rid of anything that causes my relationship with You to suffer. Thank You for giving me the milk of the Word as nourishment to my spirit. Thank You, also that You gave your Son Jesus, in whom I can have everlasting life.
Copyright 2020: What’s In Your Garden?: Ed Chappelle: All Rights Reserved