Just a thought.
Being a Christian doesn’t exempt us from being human, with the whole range of emotional states and faults. Sometimes, we are discouraged. We are depressed. We are jealous, we are ugly. We are lazy, we are apathetic. We are exactly the opposite of what Christ commands us to be. Joyful. But the truth is, Christ asks us to do and be that which we can’t do, or be, on our own. We simply CANNOT be joyful in all things, it takes Him to do that in us.
When we are down, (and friends, I am down and can’t seem to crawl out of it on my own), then we cannot expect to overcome it, if we are not immersing ourselves in His Word. Why should I expect peace in my soul, when I am starving it? How can I expect joyfulness to expand, when I do not ingest the seeds of it? How can I be full or satisfied? How can I expect anything to go right, feel right, be right, when I do not stop and partake in the words of my God?
This quote came today in Rich’s church email, and it landed squarely upside my head, though for different reasons than evangelism.
Eugene Peterson on the movement from Scripture reading/meditation to mission:
Christians feed on Scripture. Holy Scripture nurtures the holy community as food nurtures the human body. Christians don’t simply learn or use Scripture; we assimilate it, take it into our lives in such a way that it gets metabolized into acts of love, cups of cold water, missions into all the world, healing and evangelism and justice in Jesus’ name, hands raised in adoration of the Father, feet washed in company with the Son. Readers become what they read. If Holy Scripture is to be something other than mere gossip about God, it must be internalized.
This quote reminded me of our absolute dependence on God’s word. Everything about who we are and what we are called to do is THERE. And truthfully, it’s not important enough in my life. It gets shuffled down to the bottom of the list way too much. I have got to stop viewing it as a luxury, but as a necessity. Would I skip my meals for days on end because I was too busy to eat? No. Because I would die, I would waste away if I did that. I would grow weak, unable to do more than lift my hand. It is no different when I deprive myself of the Scripture. How can I walk as He commands, without the nurturing, sustaining food of His Word? Just can’t. It’s why I feel so drained, so tired. It’s why I stumble and fall, and lay in the middle of the path feeling sorry for myself. I cannot help myself, I cannot help others, I cannot do anything.
I am starved for Him.
So, today. Are you depressed? Stressed out? Do you think God has forgotten you, or doesn’t care? Do you think He’s angry with you? Are you struggling to see the sense or purpose in your life?
Then you’re with me, because that’s where I’ve been over the last few weeks. We can spend so much time agonizing over these questions, wallowing in them, whining even, that we forget that we already have the answers. I don’t know why we want to look everywhere else in the world but in the very place we KNOW the answer to be. Fallen nature, I guess. Rebellion. Stubbornness.
But you know it, and I know it. God’s Word is there, on our nightstand, on the countertop, and it is exactly the answer to what’s wrong. All we have to do is reach out, and take it in our hands. All we have to do is open our Bibles, and God will feed us. Wisdom, peace, purpose, strength, clarity, endurance, joyfulness– a feast awaits us. We need not starve at the Creator’s table. But He will not force feed us, because that is not His way. He is the most gentle of Hosts, He waits for us.
I’m tired of hunger pains, I’m tired of being faint of heart. You, too? Well then, let’s sit together, and share in the abundance before us. What better time than Thanksgiving, when the table groans under the weight of harvest, when we bow our heads and count our blessings?
When we are fed in body, let us be fed in Spirit as well. Read your Bible, and I’ll read mine, and we’ll find those things we need.