"Therefore, laying aside all malice, and all guile, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking (gossip), 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 2:1-3 NKJV
Taking a look at the first verse in this passage we see that the Lord is telling us to "lay aside" some negative attributes in our lives. The phrase, " lay aside" pictures in the Greek as taking off and laying aside in order to run or work. Before going into these attributes I would like to express that when the Lord has us take something out or do away with something, He always gives us something better to put on or take up.
In Zechariah 3:1-5 we see the High Priest Joshua standing accused before the Lord in filthy clothes with Satan standing as an accuser. The Lord orders that the filthy clothes be removed and new ones put on.
A special note here is that filthy rags are a symbol in the Bible as our own righteousness and not the Lord's or better explained, our attempt to be good enough for God by doing things ourselves. (Isaiah 64:6)
In the parable of the wedding feast in Matthew 22 people are brought in from the highways and byways to come to the Kings marriage feast. One person is kicked out because he was not wearing marriage clothes. These people were poor and did not have marriage clothes, so where did they get them? Surely the King supplied them to each of the guest. But one did not receive the clothes offered him and was thrown out because he thought himself good enough. In the parable of the prodigal son the father has a new robe put on the wayward son when he returned home. The Lord always gives to replace what we give up for Him.
In this post I will deal with the first attribute, malice. Malice is being deceitful in order to get ahead. It's like cheating in a race. Stepping on people in the workplace to advance yourself. We are to put this away and do not do it.
How about doing a bad job training a new employee so that you could protect your job. Surely it makes sense not to tell the newbie everything they need to know so you continue to look good and advance as the smarter one and harder working. That is not how things are to be done in the Kingdom of God.
Take off this filthy garment and trust the Lord to clothe you with something much better.
Prayer: Lord forgive us of the sin of malice. Forgive us of our plots and scheming to get ahead instead of doing our best and trusting you with the results. Clothe us with your wisdom to do our jobs and to live in a way that pleases you. Amen