Millions of people are starving around the world. They are malnourished, going about their daily routine barely clinging to life. For those well-fed individuals that interact with them, it is a sad sight. Something must be done!
But there is a problem. See, these starving people…aren’t hungry.
In fact, they have food at their fingertips – lots of it. Their country produces some of the best food in the world.
And yet, the people refuse to eat. What’s even stranger, perhaps, is that most will admit that food is good. A large majority will gladly eat once a week, but no more.
This is shocking. A normal diagnosis would almost certainly classify this as an eating disorder – and a very serious one at that. However, the official diagnosis is never made. Actually, it is considered normal behavior for many Christians living in the United States…and it needs to change.
No, I’m not talking about physical food. Rather, I’m talking about spiritual food.
In Matthew 4:4, Jesus says this: “People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” How different would we behave if we actually took this to heart? As Christians, we have been born again. There is an unmistakable analogy that is drawn in the New Testament between physical life and spiritual life. If we have been born again spiritually, then we will need something to sustain us. See, this is not a “one and done” deal. No, it’s a continual process, something that we need every day.
The truth is, a lot of us (like me) need to be reminded of this. Too many Christians go about their daily lives thinking that scripture is something less than essential. I used to be the same way. But when did reading your Bible become something that only “good” Christians do? How many people are walking around without even realizing that they’re starving?
What if I told you that to God, the world might look a lot different? What if He looks at Christians in some African countries and smiles at their health, but then turns to some American Christians and sees starving people? The ironic thing is that in America, we have everything we could ever ask for: Bible in every translation, devotionals of every kind, and Christian books on every topic. We have spiritual food up to our heads! … But we push it away and say “no… I’m not hungry. I’m too busy to eat today.”
This needs to change… and I think it can – we just need to transform the way that we think.
So, here are three reasons why we should regain our hunger, and not neglect “eating our spiritual food.”
1.) Survive. There is no question that scripture is essential for spiritual life. Without it, we would have no foundation or reference point for our relationship with God. It is literally God-breathed, meaning that the very essence of it is life-giving. Everything that we can know about God is found in scripture. Further, it allows us to withstand trials and attacks in life. Just as physical food provides nutrients that prepare our bodies to fight off disease, scripture does this for us against spiritual attacks (Eph. 6:12). When Jesus is tempted by Satan in the wilderness, He uses scripture to battle against him (Matt. 4:1-11). If we are not being fed spiritually, then we leave ourselves vulnerable.
2.) Thrive. Even more than being able to defend ourselves, scripture equips us to do God’s will. If you are an athlete, then you certainly know the importance of nutrition. Eating healthy food allows us to perform our best whenever we are called upon. The same is true with scripture. Quite often, people wonder why they don’t see God working in their lives. In many cases, the reason may be because they aren’t spiritually healthy enough to perform (2 Tim. 3:17). How can you expect a starving person to go run a marathon? It’s not possible. If we’re not being fed spiritually, then we won’t be able to see God working in our lives or be prepared for the opportunities that He gives us.
3.) Satisfy. Not only is scripture necessary, but it’s also satisfying. There’s not much in life that I enjoy more than a big bowl of ice cream after a long hard day. It amazes me how God created food to sustain us and please us at the same time. Scripture is not any different. God’s Word can bring us joy and delight (Ps. 119:47). It can uplift our spirits even during the most difficult times, because it reveals to us the ultimate Good News. We have a God who loves us so much that He was willing to die for us. When we read scripture, do we take time to savor its truths? Do we turn to scripture when we need to be relieved and uplifted? If we’re not being fed spiritually, then we are missing out on some amazing encouragement.
It’s my prayer that we might remember scripture as our spiritual food – because quite honestly, if we make God’s Word anything less than this, we are making it nothing at all.
However, when we change our perspective and see the world through God’s eyes, things begin to make sense. How can you be too busy for food? How can you eat only once a week? You can’t.
When we get a taste of scripture for what it really is, our eyes will be opened. We’ll realize that despite our great wealth, we have been starving. Hunger will begin to grow in our souls. And when spiritual hunger takes hold, we know that satisfaction is not far away.
“I have not departed from his commands, but have treasured his words more than daily food.” – Job 23:12
What if we can’t see God working in our lives because we aren’t spiritually healthy enough to perform?