One of the reasons God purifies us is so that we can love one another from the heart (1 Peter 1:22-23). This purification takes place as we allow God to make us like Jesus. We take in God’s Word and begin to make adjustments so that our lives match up with His Word, obedience. One of the reasons we struggle so hard to love one another is that our focus is on one another, and not on God and His Word. In 1 Peter 2:1-2, Peter gives us some very practical advice on how to purify our hearts and shift our focus from people to His truth.
"So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation." I Peter 2:1-2
There are two steps here. The first is to put away our ungodly behaviors toward each other: malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander.
Malice means evil, wickedness, the wishing of harm on another. To whom do you wish ill-will?
Deceit is misleading someone, intending to deceive someone. Where are misrepresenting yourself or lying to someone for your gain or acceptance?
Hypocrisy is pretending to act one way while secretly acting in an opposite way. In what ways or situations do you pretend to be different than you really are?
Envy is wanting what other’s have or wishing ill-will on others because of what they have. Of whom are you envious?
Slander means to accuse falsely, insult, or hurt the reputation of another with your words. Think about your words during the last week. When have you made fun of others or hurt someone’s reputation?
If we are honest with ourselves, we are all broken, especially in our relationships. Jeremiah 17:9 says our hearts are deceitfully wicked. It is our nature to deceive, envy, and hurt others with our words. Sometimes we do it out of ill-will. Other times, trying to be funny. But we cannot be God’s love in this world if we are treating people this way.
Painful passages like this reveal our brokenness and create in us a desire and need both for God’s forgiveness and God’s transformation. This leads us to the second step which is to long for God’s Word, literally to crave it, so we can grow and change. Transformation of the heart happens through the renewing of our minds with God’s Word (Romans 12:1-2). That is why we should literally crave God’s Word and godly teaching. As we immerse ourselves in God and His Word, we change. Our nature becomes more and more like Jesus. We do this by daily spending time in God’s Word and joining classes and small groups for accountability. Even a verse a day applied to your life will cause amazing transformation! Allow God to change you so that you can love others fervently from the heart.
Posted on Thu, September 17, 2015
by Sam Petitfils