Thursday, January 28, 2010

To Live is Christ — hungry for spiritual food

On our journey home from vacation, we listened to satellite radio, particularly a Christian broadcasting network with messages from the Bible. Several of them put great emphasis on the fact of biblical illiteracy in the church today. Scripture is available, as is access to sound preaching, but something is missing.

Again I am reading from Nehemiah. In those days, the people were spiritual starved because they did not have access to Scripture. When their sacred writings were found, read and explained to them, God’s family responded with great enthusiasm.

And all the people went their way to eat and drink, to send portions and rejoice greatly, because they understood the words that were declared to them. (Nehemiah 8:12)
This event happened sometime between 435-445 BC, long before the Bible was completed, but they had enough of it to be able to hear God speak and be excited that they understood what He said to them. What is wrong with God’s people today?

Right now, for me the daily habit of reading the Bible is like physical food — without which I would starve! I don’t know what would happen if Bibles became illegal and were confiscated. The Word of God is my spiritual nourishment and a necessary part of life. I cannot leave it alone.

During one of those radio broadcasts, a man called in with a question. He was a Christian and knew that he should read the Bible but he didn’t like to read it and didn’t particularly feel like reading it. He wanted to know what to do.

The Bible Answer Man, Hank Hanegraaff, told him that involvement produces commitment. He said that we do not always feel like doing the right things, like going to work every day so our family is fed, but when we do the things we should do, our desire to keep on doing them increases.

My heart says yes to this. Start reading and keep reading and the next thing I know, I cannot be without it. However, I’ve found that desire needs to be guarded. 

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)
Jesus said I need to be like a little child. This is one way to do it — crave spiritual milk so I will grow. But malice, deceit, and the other sins listed in these verses can be appetite suppressants. I need to keep short accounts with God and my attitude right toward others.

The taste of the Lord’s goodness increases my desire for more. Listening to those radio programs was a feast. My husband and I talked for hours about what we heard and what we intend to do about it. We ate other things in the car during our long drive, but the feast that was our greatest source of joy was God’s Word explained and understood.

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