When was the last time you went several days without eating? I’m not talking about time you may have set aside for fasting in the past. When was the last time that you got so busy and distracted that eating simply slipped your mind before you realized that it had been several days since you had a meal? That doesn’t happen. Our stomach growls, we become shaky or weak, we lose energy and we know that it’s time for us to eat. In fact, when I was younger I knew it was time to eat simply by what the clock said. If the clock passed noon, you would have thought that my brother Daniel and I were dying of starvation. We knew it was time to eat. We knew we needed to eat. We knew that if we didn’t eat, eventually we would die (though Daniel and I often claimed that would happen immediately if my parents didn’t have lunch ready in time).
New question: when was the last time that you got so busy and distracted that feeding yourself spiritually slipped your mind for several days? That happens a little more often. We recognize that we need to feed our physical bodies, but for some reason we think we can go days, if not weeks, without feeding ourselves spiritually. For some reason we think that showing up on Sunday morning for a “quick bite” is going to be enough to sustain us spiritually. If we only ate a physical meal once a week, our world would be filled with weak and dying people. Why does it surprise us that the church is filled with weak and dying Christians?
Jesus said, “I AM the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger; and he who believes in Me will never thirst” (John 6:35). On multiple occasions, Jesus fed the people with physical food but it was His words that brought true nourishment. Unless you have something that I don’t, the only way we can know the words of Christ is by reading the Word of God. That’s how we are supposed to fill ourselves. That’s how we are supposed to receive the spiritual nutrients and vitamins that we need to survive. If we want to be strong, healthy Christians, we MUST be in His word. Instead, we fill ourselves with junk. We’ve decided that television, movies, work, sports and all the things of this world are what we want to “eat.” In other words, we are trying to survive on junk food. Like a college student who eats only Ramen and Coke, you’ll soon find yourself weak and unhealthy.
The only way we can grow spiritually is to be like the psalmist who, referring to the righteous man, wrote, “But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:2). If we are not in God’s word every day, we are going to wind up weak and dying. And I don’t use the words “every day” to mean often. I mean that each and every single day should be seen as an opportunity to read and study the Bible. You wouldn’t go an entire day without eating, would you?
I offer a challenge for those of you who are willing to do it. I know that often when someone gives an application we are hesitant to try it but I hope that you will. Pick just one day over the next week to fast. You don’t need to make a big deal of it or let others know (Matthew 6:16-18). But on that one day, during the time you would usually eat a meal, take that time to study your Bible instead. When you feel your stomach growl, remember that your spiritual stomach is craving food too. Hopefully this will offer us a chance to remember that feeding our spiritual body is even more important than filling our physical stomach.