We live in the middle of chaos.
Happiness is the ultimate goal.
Truth is whatever makes us happy.
And love means simply never interfering with other’s happiness or their truth.
How on earth did we get here?
All too easily.
We allowed lust to redefine love.
And we watered down it to make whatever I want (or think I want) admirable.
So that’s where we are.
But how do we escape this mass confusion?
If we want to restore peace, we must relearn the truth about love.
True love is based on reality, not lies. And God is the only one who knows the Truth.
True love is bold. In defense, support, exhorting, correcting, and encouraging. It cannot be passive or permissive because it is based on truth. Thus, God’s love toward us is incisive and active.
True love is free, not a transaction. It loves at its own expense, forever. Because...
True love is self-sacrificing, not self-serving. It puts others first at all times.
True love is something that no one can understand or mimic apart from Jesus Christ – Love in the flesh. And this we must remember. It is illogical to expect love from those who do not know its source: Christ, our Lord and Savior. So if we want true love, we must introduce them to Jesus.
Most of us are not born desiring to exercise or drink water or eat a healthy diet, but many of us have learned to encourage those habits. Similarly, a sweet tooth for the Bible is an appetite that needs to be actively cultivated.
Here are three ways we can nurture our spiritual “sweet teeth”:
1. Always pray first. The Bible is God’s Word. The Holy Spirit is our Teacher. Before you start studying, ask God to come and prepare your heart and open your mind to the truth of His word.
2. Be constantly curious. Who is this person? Where is this place? Why is this word here? (Words like since, therefore, because link passages together.) Does this passage relate to other passages? How am I supposed to obey this command? How can I follow this good example (or avoid this bad example)?
3. Engage with the Scriptures. God wrote these things down specifically for your learning (Romans 15:4). So help it come alive. Listen to the Bible audio. Take notes. Outline the chapter or book you are studying. Draw pictures or paint mental pictures of the passage you are reading. Memorize a verses and pray through it with God.
May your times with Christ in His word grow sweeter and sweeter!
Our family could write the book on sugar-overdoses.
Chapter 1: Using your lunch money to buy pounds of candy corn instead of lunch.
Chapter 2: Eating a cup of icing straight (with a little help from the factory tour guide).
Chapter 3: Putting so much brown sugar in your hot cereal that it turns black.
Three different generations. Three different stories. The same lesson learned.
But these childhood lessons miss one important point: Christ followers need to have a sweet tooth. A strong sweet tooth for the word of God.
In Psalm 19 and Psalm 119 David compares the Scriptures to honey and honeycomb. Choose your favorite sweet snack, and that is the analogy David is making. We are to crave God’s Word in the same way that we can’t resist warm chocolate chip cookies or a gooey s’more. The riches we find tucked between the Bible’s pages should compel us to return over and over to satisfy our sweet tooth. And, try as hard as you want, but you cannot overdose this sweet tooth. So go ahead and indulge!
Have you ever wondered why God included certain stories in the Bible? I have. This week I was reading the story of the man of God in 1 Kings 13. (You can see a retelling of it below or just read it for yourself in the Bible.) It's a strange story and it left me scratching my head a little. But we know that as for God His way is perfect (2 Samuel 22:31). Nothing He does is senseless. Every story He includes in the Bible is profitable for us. And even a quick overview of this story will reveal several godly principles.
1. God gives instructions for a reason.
2. God's instructions must be obeyed.
3. No matter how spiritual or powerful, no one gets a pass from God for disobedience.
4. We can influence others to disobey God.
5. It is our responsibility to obey God no matter who disagrees with us.
I am still meditating on 1 Kings 13 and am convinced that God has more to teach me. Can I challenge you to do the same with a Bible story you consider a little odd? God's word is sensational in the sense that it is wondrous, intended to arouse our deepest curiosity.
1 Kings 13 (Very Briefly Retold)
A man of God hears the word of the Lord (along with very specific instructions). He goes to wicked king Jeroboam and foretells the coming of good King Josiah. God told this man to:
A) Not eat
B) Not drink
C) Not return home by the same road
D) All of the above
The answer is D. The man of God (whose name we don't know) was stopped by a prophet on the way home. The prophet then proceeds to lie and gets the man to disobey God's command. Once at the prophet's home, the prophet tells the man of God he will surely die for his disobedience. The man of God dies as the Lord said and the prophet buries the man in his own tomb.
Come with me as we grow in fellowship with each other and our Savior to whom belongs the Amazing Escape from sin and death and the Amazing Journey into glorious life.