Ezekiel 3:1-3 “Then he told me, “Son of Man, eat! Eat what you see—this scroll—and then go talk to the house of Israel.” So I opened my mouth and he fed me the scroll. Then he told me, “Son of Man, fill your stomach and digest this scroll that I’m giving you.” So I ate it, and it was like sweet honey in my mouth.”
Jeremiah 15:16 “Your words were found, and I consumed them. Your words were joy and my hearts delight, because I bear your name, LORD God of the Heavenly Armies.”
Amos 8:11 “Look! The days are coming,” declares the Lord GOD, “when I will send a famine throughout the land—not a famine of food or a thirst for water—but rather a famine of hearing the words of the LORD.”
John 6:48 “I am the bread of life.” (Jesus’ words)
Recently God has stirred in me the desire to become more like Him and to live continually in His house i.e. in His love and will. In my mind, God uses two things to perfect us, suffering and solitary time with Him (prayer, meditation and the study of scripture). Suffering is a whole series of blogs, which I will share with you later, let me just say one thing about it; God never sends pain and suffering our way. It crosses our paths because we live in a broken sin-laden world where people have free will and can choose to exercise evil. God chooses to use trials to pull us closer to Him and through this, reveal Himself to us making us strong and perfecting us. If we let Him, he transforms every negative experience into something beneficial and beautiful. Really I could go on, but in this blog I want to focus on the work of the Word in us and how we can access it, interestingly my approach to internalize the Word is the same way I approach meal time (does that make me weird?)
Into the mind (hunger): Each meal is preceded by hunger pangs, our body’s way of telling us that we need the nutrition and energy found in glorious food. So we must ask God to stir in us a hunger for His Word. He brings us to the realization that we are running on empty, that if a crisis were to pounce on us, we would have no energy reserves or vitamins to help us stand firm throughout the trial. The energy and vitamins I am referring to is the truth locked up in scripture. Let me use this comparison; the message in Psalm 23 is like an energy bar, if we memorize it, this will sustain us in challenging times. Hunger comes regularly though, like 7 times a day (once again does that make me weird?) Hunger shows that we need food for our daily walk and daily sanctification.
Into the mouth (the balanced meal): Once God has stirred in us a hunger for His word, we must have it! Two things I want to expand on is, first the meal itself: it must be balanced. We need veggies, some carbs and proteien, so we need to eat of the whole scripture, the four gospels: Jesus’ own words, the purest form of food we can have. The Old Testament, preparing us for the gospel and giving weight to the New Testament. The psalms and proverbs: the sugar, the honey of scripture. I can go on, can you see that to only read one part of the bible would lead to a lob-sided view of God and not experience Him fully? Together all the parts of the bible form a beautiful story, the Good News. With this also comes a warning: if you don’t read the world as a whole you may be tempted to misinterpret a verse when you read it by itself. The rest of the bible gives us the whole picture which makes the bits that seem to be different from the rest find their place. Second thing is something I learnt from my grandfather, eat slowly! Savor each bite! When we read the word it is important to focus on every word, to shut out our own thoughts and just listen to God’s words, let the taste fill your soul and mind. Take smaller bites, do not rush through the meal. Enjoy it, let it slowly fill your stomach. As my grandpa proved to me, when you eat slowly and attentively, you need less to be filled. The importance of paying attention to each bite is that when you stand up from the meal, you must remember every part of it, remembering is like the swallowing of a bite that you have tasted and enjoyed.
Into the belly: If the food has not been swallowed, it can’t be digested. i.e. If the scripture isn’t memorized (doesn’t have to be the exact words, if the idea of that makes you falter, getting the gist of a verse and its approximate location will do just fine as a start) it cannot be internalized. We digest God’s word by mulling it over in our mind. You can split your bible study time between reading of scripture and thinking about what you have read. What I like to do is remember and consider what I have read during the day at and night when I am in my bed. I contemplate it, I wrestle with it and I discuss it with my husband (cats work just as well). Point is, just as food is broken up into its individual components, vitamins, nutrients, energy, protein etc, so we need to break open the Word we have consumed today until it is ready to be absorbed into our being
Into the bloodstream: As we go to sleep or continue with our earthly duties, the Holy Spirit starts His wondrous work, the part we don’t actually feel happening till we experience the results. The absorbing of Truth into our blood, delivered to every body part. The truth sinking form our conscious mind into the subconscious, shifting things around, throwing lies out, instating truths, establishing new paradigms, in essence, renewing our mind. We become more Christ-like, our lives more in line with God’s will, our minds more aware of His grace and love for us. Our bones stronger, our eyes brighter and our heartbeat strengthened. With each meal we not only receive our daily bread, but we are transformed into Christ.
In conclusion, each step is followed by another and skipping a step, brings down the whole show. For the Word to sustain and transform us, we must seek it out, take it in, contemplate it and finally make it part of us. We have a great helper in this, the Holy Spirit coaches us in every step of this feast and finally completes our effort by making it part of our being. That little molecule of protein ingested four weeks ago, is now part of the muscle you are flexing today. The saying “you are what you eat” has never been more true.