Good morning!!!! It's Monday!
It is a lovely day here in VA! Hopefully you're enjoying the beauty of the day wherever you are. If this is your first time getting one of these emails, I hope you find it useful. If not, there are unsubscribe links on the top and bottom of the message.
Today's email takes a look at something Jesus said during his 40 day fast in the wilderness. The Bible says that Satan came to temp Jesus while he was in the wilderness. Knowing that Jesus' physical body was weakened from being without food, Satan tried to exploit the opportunity and makes a suggestion to Jesus: "Why don't you just turn those rocks into bread and eat them?" (my paraphrase.)
Jesus' response to Satan's sly suggestion is our focus today. Jesus said:
"It is written: 'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"
Obviously Jesus is quoting scripture to deal with Satan, here. (This is a good point of note for all of us as we deal with Satan's attacks!) He's making reference to Deuteronomy 8:3. See, God had fed Israel with his word before, during their wilderness journey from Egypt to Canaan. Israel was hungry and God fed them with something they'd never known before - manna (which literally means, "what is it?"). The Israelites had no idea what the food substance was, but the Bible says they were literally fed with the word of God! Brilliant work, Jesus! (As always!)
Let me stop you. No, I'm not suggesting that we look for God's word to fall from the sky in a and land on our plates for dinner tonight. But, what I am saying is that God's word is spiritual food and we should eat it, spiritually. We should savor it the same way a foodie savors the confluence of flavors at the finest restaurants. We shouldn't rush through it. We should digest the word of God with deliberation and thought.
Eugene Peterson wrote a book, "Eat this Book," based primarily on the experience of St. John during his vision recorded in the book of Revelation. Peterson's whole book focuses on Revelation 10:9-10 and offers this paraphrase of what the angel metaphorically instructed John to do in those verses:
"Eat this book. Get this book into your gut; get the words of this book moving through your blood-stream; chew on these words and swallow them so they ca be turned into muscle and gristle and bone."
(Peterson, Eugene. "Eat this Book". pg 38.)
I've been on a fitness binge for a few months now. I subscribe to Men's Health Magazine for tips, workouts, motivation, etc. The magazine has a weekly feature called "Eat This!" that's all about enjoying foods that are good for you instead of gorging on fatty and carb laden foods (let the church say AMEN! lol). It is a column about choosing dietary alternatives that provide rich nutrition while minimizing all the bad stuff you have to struggle to burn off at the gym.
In the same way Men's Health prescribes better dietary choices for me, I'm learning to "Eat This!" "This," being the richness of God's word. I'm learning to chew on his word more and digest less of what the world and our culture presents. Whenever I go to today's cultural buffet, I walk away with spiritual fat to burn off - disatisfaction, anxiety, worry, greed, guilt, jealousy and so much more. Quite frankly, I don't need any more spiritual baggage! I'm trying to shed the fat I've got already - around my waist AND in my spiritual walk!
Instead of the fast food our culture serves up, I'm learning to appreciate the unbelievable richness of God's thoughts as revealed through his word. Instead of being a cultural consumer, I'm learning to enjoy the feast God has laid out before us. I'm learning to say with King David, "How precious to me are your thoughts, God!" Psalm 139-17a
So, this week I challenge you to make an attempt at savoring the word of God, more. Pace yourself. If you're not racing through 25 chapters a day, it's cool. Even one verse of God's word is substantial! It isn't about how much we can consume at all once. It is about how much we appreciate and take away from what we do consume. I believe with God's grace we'll find ourselves in much better shape to interact with, worship and serve God if we learn to "Eat This!"
...and the questions for the week:
- Do I believe the Bible is really God's word?
- When I go to the scriptures do I go for answers or do I go hoping to learn more about God's thoughts?
- When / if I do read the Bible, how much do I usually read? Do I read to fulfill a quota?
- Evaluating my thoughts, what do I think about most? How might my life look different if my thoughts were more centered around God's revealed word?