Demands and Desires

by Andy Wood on October 6, 2010

in Enlarging Your Capacity, Five LV Laws, Insight, Life Currency, LV Cycle, Principle of Increase

(The Squeeze, Part 2)

In the previous post I introduced the idea of the squeeze – that when life comes calling or the world comes knocking and we get squeezed, whatever is on the inside comes flying out.  Specifically, when life or the world squeezes, two things quickly become evident – what’s in your character (your decisions) and what’s in your heart (your desires).

That why Peter addresses this encouragement to a group of Christ followers who were living life in The Squeeze:

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).

When Our Flesh Demands Relief

People who are hurting instinctively crave relief.

NOW!

Like Job, the tendency is to move from “Lord I’m trusting you for deliverance” to “Lord stop it now or explain yourself!

When we stubbornly hold onto the demand for God to change things, five kinds of behavior emerge.  These are the five issues Peter addresses:

Malice.

Let’s start with the most general.  It literally means “all kinds of evil.”  In other words, your own unique fingerprint of flesh.  We all have flesh patterns, and I’ll bet if you have been following Jesus any length of time, you are well aware of what yours are.  Is it lust?  Put it aside.  Is it materialism?  Ditto.  Is it a gloomy disposition, or arrogance, or a hot temper?  Know what it is, and put it aside.

All deceit.

Not just your bald-faced lies, but any kind of intentional misleading of people.  Sometimes the biggest liars are the ones who keep quiet and allow someone to believe a false impression.

Hypocrisy.

Literally, “behind the mask.”  When you project an image of yourself around other people that isn’t who you really are – when you change your behavior to create an impression when somebody else comes around – you are doing what the ancient theater performers did.  You are wearing a mask, and it’s time to put it down.

Envy.

Ever feel as though when you ask God for something, He answers by giving it to somebody else? When God doesn’t respond to your demand to change things, it’s easy to develop   resentment or hatred toward somebody who has what you want.  That is true, even if they have it illegitimately.  How do you respond to someone who took what you once had?  Who has what you can never seem to attain?

Slander.

That’s a legal term in our culture that refers to false statements made to defame another person.  The Bible definition is not so narrow.  The word literally means “to speak against.”  It doesn’t matter whether it’s true or not.  Have you ever passed along information or criticism about someone else, knowing it would hurt their standing in someone else’s eyes?  That’s slander.  And that excuse about “sharing it with people you trust?”  See “deceit” above… you’re just deceiving yourself.

Redirect Your Desires

Earlier I mentioned that when we’re squeezed, one of the things that emerge is what you most badly want.  I’ll guarantee you, it wouldn’t take me long to visit with you and gently “squeeze” you at the point of your heart’s desires to find out what your deepest craving is.  Sometimes it’s legit, sometimes not.

So what’s the solution when you find yourself being squeezed and something undesirable is coming out?  In addition to setting aside the undesirable stuff, Peter gives another charge:

“As newborn babies, crave.”

Change what you want.

In any given squeeze, you may choose to focus on two desires – the relief of pain for the moment, or the goodness of God for eternity.  It’s your call – temporary satisfaction (and it IS temporary) or eternal reward.

Peter says to crave the word like a newborn baby craves milk.  Seen any hungry babies lately?  They have a distinctive way of craving milk.  They want it now!  And nothing else will do.  Put some juicy, sizzling fajita meat in front of a newborn, he’ll just cry louder.  Nothing else will satisfy him but his craving.

So what is Peter talking about when he says to crave the “milk of the word?”  Obviously it’s something that nourishes spiritually and produces growth.  But what, exactly, is it?  In Evangelical circles, we toss “the word” around as code for the Bible.  Is that what Peter means?

Partly.  He has already said that “all flesh is grass… and the grass withers… but the word of the Lord stands forever” (1 Peter 1:24-25).  I will say this – the one prayer request that the Lord has always answered without fail for me is, “Father, speak to me through Your word.”

But I think there is more to this.  The same word that Peter uses here to refer to the “milk of the word” is used in another place:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it…. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 15:1-5, 14).

To crave the “word” is to earnestly desire the Word-made-flesh – full of grace and truth.  Yes, I’m talking about establishing a burning desire for Jesus.  For the manifestation of His life power, His grace and truth.  You grow when that happens, Peter says.

Wouldn’t it be awesome if, the next time we get squeezed, the love, power, grace and truth of the Lord Jesus came flowing out?

It can happen.

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