What would happen today if you just stopped being hungry? Really, what if you woke up today and just didn’t want breakfast?
Lunch comes around and you completely miss it. By dinner time you haven’t eaten all day, but you’re just not interested. Days and weeks go by and you’ve lost all love for food. Nobody can coax you into eating, and your friends and family are getting worried.
A month has passed and your face is gaunt, your strength has left you, you’re constantly tired, and a cloud of depression is starting to roll over your life. Another month has transpired and your body is starting to shut down. Your gut is beginning to bloat and distend, your eyes are hot and your head feverish as your immune system becomes vulnerable to disease, and your body becomes abnormally susceptible to infection.
At this point, your heart is on the very brink of failing from tissue degradation, and the damage is so severe that eating might not even help free you from the claws of death. But … you’re still not hungry.
Of course we know that we need to eat food in order to live. We understand that our body needs nourishment. But what about our spirits? The truth is that today a lot of Christians are starving to death and they don’t know it. Jesus once said that man doesn’t just live off of eating food, but by hearing and doing the word of God.
Unfortunately, we have let the distractions of life rob us of the vital, spiritual nutrients that we can only obtain by reading the bible. Again, a disclaimer: if you feel like you are in a dry season, it does not necessarily mean that you just need to read your bible more.
That being said, if you can’t remember the last time you were in God’s word, it might just be that your spirit-man is dying of starvation. In this entry, I’d like to examine some of the benefits of reading the Bible, and how this simple act alone can be a huge help in ending your dry season.
Jesus went through a desert, but not in the way we usually experience the desert. You see, God called his people Israel out of Egypt, saving them from bondage in order to set them apart as his portion on the earth. His desire was to make them a “kingdom of priests” and a “holy nation”, shining forth the Glory of God from the land of Israel.
The purpose of this was actually to bless all the nations of the world through his chosen people, but there was something God had to do first. God had to bring them through a desert so that they could be tested. Why would God allow us to be tested? Is it because He’s mean? No, it’s because he loves us and He wants to transform us into the image of His glory.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.James 1:2-4 (ESV)
God wanted to purify the faith of his people through a fiery trial. The Israelites were tempted in the desert by their own fleshly desires, by the threat of armed forces, and by the lies of the enemy. God provided for them in all of their needs, but their selfish and greedy hearts robbed them of the peace that comes from praising God in the midst of discomfort.
God wanted them to be intimate with him at the top of the
Because of this, Jesus went through the same desert, being tempted in every way, and did not falter. Why? Because Jesus had to fulfill man’s end of God’s covenant relationship in every way. How? He “loved not his own life unto death,” submitted to the power of the Holy Spirit, and used the authority of God’s word in faith to overcome in the face of adversity and temptation.
The fiery trial proved the purity of his faith, as more precious than gold. The word in the hand of Christ was a ruthless sword, cutting down the lies of satan, clearing the way of God’s narrow path of righteousness.
So will reading the word of God alone keep us from temptation? Not necessarily. Consider how versed the Pharisees were in the word of God. Yet, because of their darkened hearts, they were drawn by the spirit of the enemy to hate and kill Jesus. So it is not only the reading of God’s word, but the reading of his word in faith. What does that mean?
It means when I get a bill in the mail that’s 200 dollars more than it should be, I don’t get on my knees and say, “Lord, how in the world am I going to pay this? It’s just one thing after another, and how much more am I supposed to take?”
Instead, when anxiety tries to touch my heart, I pray in faith saying, “I cannot serve God and money. I thank you, father, that the grass neither toils nor spins and yet it is more beautifully clothed than
I will keep my eye single and healthy, completely on you, seeking first your kingdom and righteousness, knowing that all these things will be added to me.”
Why do we compromise with our flesh and our doubts when God’s word tells us to crucify them? Why do we say to ourselves, “I don’t feel the love of God,” when his word says, “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only begotten son into the world that we might live through him?”
Why don’t we thank God for the truth of his word, rather than make our feelings and experiences Lord over us, letting the world be our potter instead of the Father? This is what it means to read the word of God in faith.
Abiding in the word of God in faith is not only helpful in tearing down temptation in our lives, but also in the maturing of our faith. The problem that we often face is that we read the word of God as if we know it already. We start to read the beatitudes and remember that sermon our pastor preached that one S
What if instead we picked up our bible actually believing that we haven’t yet been perfected in love, and we might not yet know as we ought to know? What if God’s word is actually alive and active? What if it were actually possible to be like Jesus on this earth, and the grace of God is sufficient to complete what He started in us? Man, if I actually believed all of that is true, maybe I wouldn’t need an accountability partner to ask me if I’m reading my bible. Maybe I’d be so hungry for the truth of God that every day I’d look at my bible and see a buffet!
The Apostle Peter wrote that we should desire the pure milk of the Gospel so that we can grow up into salvation. How do we know when we have grown up? How do we know when we’re ready for meat? Paul lays it out in 1 Corinthians. He says that the mark of maturity is love. At the end of one of the most famous passages in the new testament, 1 Corinthians 13, Paul says this:
When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.1 Corinthians 13:11 (ESV)
What are the signs of this new maturity he talks about? What does it mean to give up childish ways? The answer is love, and this is what love looks like:
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.1 Corinthians 13:4-7
I think sometimes we presume to be mature without really knowing what that means. We think that we’re ready for meat, and yet we still engage in meaningless arguments, gossip and speak death against those that Christ died for, belittle others to make ourselves feel better, take joy at another’s misfortune because they “had it coming,” make rude comments aloud because the line at the store is moving too slow, covet the luxuries of the more fortunate, hold grudges for years at a time, withhold mercy, grace, forgiveness etc.
In bringing light to this immaturity, I’m not claiming to be perfect by any stretch of the imagination. What I’m saying is that maybe there is more to the simple gospel than what we understand. Maybe we’ve been taught by life, circumstances, teachers, family, and our own natural instincts more than we have been shaped by the pure and powerful truth of God’s word.
Maybe all that stuff we’ve been brought up on is actually the inheritance of Adam, which we should be reckoning ourselves dead
If you don’t believe it’s possible to look like Jesus did when He walked this earth, then you probably never will. If God’s word is true, though, that’s exactly what He wants for us.
So if we are not Mature yet, then we must desire the “pure milk” of the gospel. I find this metaphor interesting because newborn babies eat every 3 to 4 hours on average, even eating through the night, which gives this picture of someone who is constantly hungry for the word of God.
I think if we aren’t experiencing the fruit of the spirit in our lives and we don’t line up with the kind of love described in 1 Corinthians 13, then we might not be fortifying our spirits with the unadulterated truth of the gospel consistently enough.
I hope that you’ve read more out of these last two entries than “stop sinning and read the bible more.” It would be so easy to boil it down into those simple, legalistic terms instead of finding the true thread that runs through everything that I’m writing. That thread is faith.
Praying and reading the Bible will not make you like Jesus. It is faith in conjunction with those things in the greater scope of relationship that will open you up to the transformative work of God. Faith is the way that we access the grace of God, which is the very power that saves us.
Faith is not just a tool. It is an eye through which we see everything; the clear, and healthy eye which is a lamp to our bodies. It is the eye which looks ahead, never looking back after you “put your hand to the plow,” which makes us fit for the kingdom of God.
My prayer is that this blog would always be an encouragement to you, building you up in the truth of God’s word in the same way it has built me up. If you have found yourself in a dry season and the things I have shared haven’t helped you yet, remember that you have direct access to the Father. He is for you, and He wants to give you his wisdom and grace. Press in to Him, because He is the giver of every good gift. Until next time, thank you all again and God bless!