Eat This Book
Remember Tang? The orange-flavored drink was invented in 1959 but no one really wanted the stuff until NASA famously sent it into space with the astronauts. In the 60’s we were told that Tang had the taste we love and all the Vitamin C we need. Hmm, does what we love = what we need? If that’s true, I would say that fiery hot Cheetos should be one of the four food groups!
Tang may have provided us with the taste we love, but was it really “a delicious way to do something good” for your family? I think not. The first ingredient in Tang is sugar. Twenty-four grams (that’s almost six teaspoons) of sugar in an 8-ounce serving. It also contains fructose (more sugar). Further down the list is Maltodextrin, Sucralose, and other unpronounceable ingredients like Acesulfame potassium and Neotame, all artificial sweeteners. Reading that list just makes us want to put the stuff back on the shelf, next to the weed repellant and bug spray!
What about our spiritual nutrition? For many Christian women, their spiritual diet consists mainly of reading devotional blogs by popular authors, books on Christian topics, or listening to podcasts by entertaining preachers. As a pastor’s wife who cares deeply for women in our church, I find this disturbing. The thinking seems to be that when you need inspiration for the day, patience for the trial, or encouragement when you’re lonely, just go through a spiritual drive-thru to get your grab-and-go thought for the day.
Tasty, pre-packaged collections of Bible verses and sweet devotional thoughts can make us feel better, but are they enough to provide what we really need? Imagine if one day you woke up to a world where every copy of the Scriptures was gone and all you had left was the devotional book on your nightstand. Would that be enough?
Don’t misunderstand. I enjoy reading Morning and Evening, Daily Light on the Daily Path, Every Day with Jesus, My Utmost for His Highest, and all the other splendid devotionals that fill my shelves. And yes, I find it hard at times to make my way through the book of Leviticus and the genealogies in Numbers. Some parts are difficult to understand, but I read them anyway because I want to know all the truths, precepts, warnings and laws contained in the Holy Writ.
I want to read, study, understand, and obey. I want to meditate and know the way God speaks through His Word. I want inspiration and instruction. Devotion and doctrine. Emotion and exhortation. Assurance and examination!
The Bible is a most comforting book. It is also a most discomforting book. And it should be. We aren’t meant to nourish our personal spiritual lives on a random gathering of favorite Bible verses. We are fed and formed by the Holy Spirit as He illuminates and applies all of the Scripture to our lives. The bitter and sweet, the painful and powerful, the comforting and crushing; all of it is ultimately life-transforming.
This takes time. It will take a lifetime of discipline and developing a taste for it. I encourage you to be patient . . . cooperate with the slow process of spiritual growth. Guard against the temptation to nibble only on the tasty bites of Scripture. We can’t survive on Tang. Cheetos can be quite tasty, but you and I can’t live on them. I want to eat this book . . . all of it!
And he said to me, ” . . . eat what is before you, eat this book.” Ezekiel 3:1