unsplash-logoCaroline Attwood
Caroline Attwood

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ Matthew 4:4

Let’s say you had a plate of food you wanted to dive into. How would you do it? Let’s say this food represents Scripture, how do I get into it? It’s not rocket science.

You value it. You value food when you take time out of your busy day to stop and eat. If you go too long without food, your body begins to break down. If you go too long without Scripture, your soul begins to break down. That’s why so many people live broken lives, they just don’t know it’s their soul that is starving. The first step in eating this meal is valuing it enough to put it in front of me. In the same way, you need to value Scripture enough to carve out time to get into it everyday.

You prepare it. Just like you don’t eat raw meat, you need to prepare it, you need to prepare your meal, you need to prepare your heart before opening Scripture. Just glancing at a quick verse on your way out the door because your rushed versus taking time to slowly read and ponder Scripture is like the difference between eating a well-prepared steak and cheese omelet and swallowing a raw egg yolk on the way out the door because you’re late for work. Sure, both are food, but one is much more enjoyable.

And like you prepare your own food most of the time and then you like to splurge and let someone else prepare it for you at a restaurant, it’s nice to go to places like church or a Bible study group and allow someone like a preacher or teacher to prepare a meal of Scripture for you. It’s a nice flourish to complement what you’re doing throughout the week.

You consume it. This is generally understood, but if I want to eat something, I’ve actually got to put it in my mouth. Same with Scripture. You need to consume it. Read it. Listen to it on your way to work. Memorize Scripture. Listen to others teach on it. However you can consume it, consume it.

You chew it. This is important because if you take a huge bite of steak and swallow it whole, you’re likely to choke yourself. You have to chew it, you have to break it down. That’s more than just reading Scripture, it’s studying it, it’s breaking it down, it’s trying to understand it, it’s asking questions, it’s figuring things out. Scripture isn’t meant to be swallowed whole. We need to chew it, study it, until we understand it.

You swallow it. Again, this is understood but it needs to be said. If I take a bite of this, and chew on it and chew on it until it’s broken down, but then I spit it all back up, have I really eaten it? Many times people hear God’s word, they consume it, but they don’t obey it, and it’s like they’re spitting it back up rather than swallowing it.

You enjoy it with others. The best meals are ones enjoyed with others. God created eating as a communal opportunity to build relationships. Scripture is the same way. You’ll enjoy it more when you study it with others, which is why we put such an emphasis on community life, where people break up in smaller groups and study Scripture together. If you’re not involved in community life, you’re missing out!

You repeat the process. A meal, as exquisite as it might be, is good for a few hours, then you get hungry again. In the same way, Scripture needs to be consumed on a regular basis, not just once or twice a month at church.

So, think of getting into God’s Word like eating a meal. Value it enough to get into it, consume it, chew it up until you understand it, swallow it, enjoy it with others, and repeat.

 

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