“So get rid of all malicious behavior and deceit. Don’t just pretend to be good! Be done with hypocrisy and jealousy and backstabbing. You must crave pure spiritual milk so that you can grow into the fullness of your salvation. Cry out for this nourishment as a baby cries for milk, now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness.”- 1 Peter 2:1-3
I Love my Caffeine! During my college days in Bristol Tennessee, I spent many nights at a local coffee house “Java J” for the best coffee ever. My cup of coffee made to perfection would provide me with the warm comfort and satisfaction I needed to get through the night. I’d sit at a corner table sipping these warm sensations with my lap top and the middle English text of Milton’s “Paradise Lost” in front of me weather I was in a mood for it or not. When I got to the meaty part of the text which gave me an idea for my next research paper, I would forget about the coffee for a few moments. After scribbling a few notes, I’d pick up my cup of half full coffee again. The taste is pleasant just as it was before I put down the cup. Noticing that the bottom seems thicker, I’d stir the coffee before sipping the left over. Only in stirring it I discover my cup of warm comfort which seemed perfect a second ago, is now bitter.
On the rare occasion that I did not have to stay up late to write papers, I would order a hot cup of chocolate instead and curl up on one of the couches with a juicy novel. When I got to the intense climax of the novel, I would forget about the cup of hot chocolate for a moment as I devour the story. With a gasp of rapture, I’d pick up my half full cup again. The taste is pleasant just as it was before I put down the cup. Noticing that the bottom seems thicker, I’d stir the contents before sipping the left over. In stirring my cup, the thick chocolate rises and richens my drink, making my last few sips more intense and satisfying, leaving me with a warm tingling feeling. Now that I have indulged in the best cup of chocolate, I can’t settle for the instant coco you find at the grocery store.
Our character is very much like my cup of “Java J”. We can present the perfect drink with our smiles and pleasant comments. However, what happens when our character is challenged? When conflicts and relationships stir our lives, what will emerge from the bottom of our cups? Will it be the bitter flavor of malicious behavior and deceit or will it be the rich creamy goodness of love and spiritual comfort?
When we become new creatures in Christ, we are transformed from within. Time and time again Jesus condemned the Pharisees for their outward act of righteousness, while their hearts were filled with hypocrisy and deceit. He teaches us to be cleansed from deep within. In Mark 8:20-23 Jesus says, “For from within, out of a person’s heart come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit… All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you and make you unacceptable to God.”
Jesus longs for us to see his righteousness and carve his goodness the way we crave for satisfaction in our lives. We are called to seek his glory with spiritual desperation as a baby cries out for spiritual milk. We are called to pray as David in Psalm 86- “Teach me your ways, O Lord, that I may live according to your truth! Grant me purity of heart that I may honor you.” As we long after Him, He renews our minds and our attitudes so that when our cups are stirred up, we will rise up in honest, rich and healthy “Java J” of the Lord’s kindness.