Swallowing What You Eat
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I was speaking at a youth conference, and we all had breakfast in the cafeteria together. And then when we got together for our morning session I said, "Now, I want you guys to imagine that somebody who was at breakfast with us comes in the room and his cheeks are all puffy and you ask him what's wrong, and he just goes, "uh...uh... uh..." And you go, "Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Here's a piece of paper." And you give him a piece of paper and he writes down, "I'm starved." Now I ask him, "Did you eat breakfast?" "Uh-huh." "And you're still hungry?" "Uh-huh." And then I would ask him, "Did you swallow it?" "Huh-uh." "Oh, maybe that's why you're still hungry." See, it isn't enough just to ingest your food; you've got to swallow it for it to do anything for you.
Now, our word for today from the Word of God is in Joshua 1:8. And you might say it's about spiritual eating and spiritual digestion, because ingestion is not enough to satisfy your appetite. Ingesting food is not enough to nourish you. Joshua 1:8 puts it this way in the biblical formula for personal success. It says this, "Do not let this book of the law (the Bible) depart from your mouth. Meditate on it day and night."
In other words, be saturated with the Bible. Take a Bible bath. You should be in it day and night, really knowing what it's saying. But listen, it says, "So that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful."
Did you catch those words "careful to do"? It doesn't say, "I want you to read the Bible to just know what it says." I want you to read the Bible to do what it says. The purpose of being in God's Word is to memorize it, meditate on it, but then to do what you read. In other words, until the Bible gets into your real life; until you've found a change you're going to make because of what you've read, all you've done is sort of take it in, kind of hold it in your mouth spiritually, but it's not in your system.
So when you study the Bible, if you're going to read it to do something, that means before you close the Bible each morning when you're with the Lord, you say, "Lord, help me make a connection to something I'm going to face today." Always make that connection between what you're reading and what your life is doing right now. So, if you're reading about loving your brother, you say, "Okay, which brother am I having a hard time loving?" Okay, "Love your Ralph." Or whoever's the hard guy to love.
If it's talking about patience, you say, "Let's see, who do I need to be more patient with right now? Okay, Lord, help me be more patient with my Mom, or my wife." If it's talking about temptation, then you say, "Which temptation am I facing right now?" And you put that temptation into the verse. So if it says, "Do not let sin control your body." Then which sin? Okay, so you put in there, "Do not let gossip control your body (the one you struggle with, whatever it is)."
For example, in James 1. Let's try this. You're reading the book of James, and it says, "Consider it pure joy my brothers whenever you face trials of many kinds." Now if you're just ingesting, you'd kind of go, "Today I read about trials." Now, wait a minute. No, no! Which trial are you facing right now?" You go, "Oh, man, my boss!" Or you might say if you're married, "My in-laws." Okay, then make it in the verse, "Whenever you face trials of many kinds (with your boss), (with your in-laws) because you know that the testing of your faith (by your boss), (your in-laws) develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."
Now, that verse could just be about trials in general, or it could be about someone or something you're facing today. When you make that connection, you begin to swallow what you're eating. God's got a lot of fat children who've never put into use what they're reading.
Every day ask yourself the question, "What am I going to do because of what I read?" And once you do that and start to make those changes, you are well on your way to an exciting new you; one day, one change at a time.
Hey, don't be content to just ingest the Bible, digest it. That's the only way you grow.