Food for the Spirit

Last week we investigated different aspects of spiritual strength.  One of the ways to strengthen your spirit is through reading and studying God’s Word.  You’ve probably heard the saying, “You are what you eat.” This applies to your spirit as well.  The best food for the spirit is the Word of God, ingested in healthy, nutritious quantities every day!

Food for the Spirit-buffet of food

Taste and See that the Lord is Good

“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!” Psalm 34:8 (NKJV)

David challenges us to experience God’s goodness for ourselves.  This comes by interacting with Him, similar to tasting something for yourself.
You would never know how delicious strawberry shortcake was if you had never tasted it.  But David is not suggesting a casual nibble.  He invites us to dig in and when we do; he promises God will bless us!

Struggling to Read the Bible

Before we go any further, can we talk about the roadblocks that keep us from His Word?  There is no “one-size-fits-all” for reading and studying the Bible. Different seasons of our own lives can change our study habits. Before I get to the encouraging parts, I want to address this topic we all have experienced in our lives.

Maybe you’re like me and didn’t grow up reading the Bible.  Bible readings were something we only heard in church on Sunday morning.  We had a Bible in our home (it was huge!) but no one read it.

When I first started studying the Bible for myself, I found myself confused just as often as enlightened.  There were words I didn’t understand, and sometimes the meaning was puzzling.

Other struggles that can keep us from the Bible are fatigue, stress, boredom, or a perceived lack of time.

No matter what our struggle or excuse, it all comes down to what we value.  Instead of treating His Word like a life-giving treasure, we let it slide down the list of things we give our time to.  It’s as if we are saying “Lord, I’m too _____ to read your Word and get to know you.”

He gave us His Word to show us His heart.  He wants us to know His plans and how much He loves and values each one of us.  Connecting and sharing our hearts with Him takes commitment, discipline, and time and it’s worth every second.

Once we gain spiritual strength in this area, there are other remedies that can also help us study His Word.

Bible Study Tips

Whether we’re just starting out, or highly experienced, we can struggle.  Here are a few helpful tips for overcoming:

1) Use a Bible that you can understand.  For a long time, I used a Bible that had 4 translations side by side. When the wording confused me, it helped make things clear.  But beware- there are some popular translations that are not Biblical!
Here’s a link that may help decide what is best for you: https://faithfoundedonfact.com/the-5-most-accurate-bible-translations/

Whatever translation you use, it should be written by a committee of reputable Bible scholars (not just one person) that have studied the original languages.

2) The best piece of advice I received when I first started studying the Bible was to ask the Holy Spirit to give me clarity and wisdom if I read something I didn’t understand.  Jesus tells us the Holy Spirit is our helper and teacher. He won’t fail you! (John 14:26, 1 Corinthians 2:10)

3) Remove whatever distracts you.  For me, it’s my phone.

4) There is no set time for how long or when to read.  What matters is the quality of the time you spend with Him.

5) Get curious!  Ask yourself questions as you read- What sparked your interest?  What questions came up?  Was there a character you would like to know more about? What does that word really mean? (If I can’t define it, I look it up!) How can I apply this to my life today?

6) If possible, join a group Bible Study.  They are everywhere online!  I started this blog to spread the encouragement of God’s Word to those who couldn’t take part in person. When time, transportation, work schedules, etc., are barriers, the internet is always at your fingertips.

Related Post: Resources for Studying the Bible

Benefits of Reading the Bible

There are too many benefits to name them all here, but spending time in God’s Word works in some pretty amazing ways:

Man Does Not Live by Bread Alone

“Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”  Deuteronomy 8:3b (NIV)

Moses was emphasizing our commitment to God.  The physical nourishment we take in cannot give us all we need; we have spiritual needs too. The Word of God satisfies our deepest appetites and longings.

When we know Him through His Word, His principles and values guide us.

Jesus quoted this above Deuteronomy verse when the devil tempted Him in the desert. He could resist the devil’s temptations because He knew Scripture thoroughly.

A Light for My Path

“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”  Psalm 119:05 (NIV)

The Bible is full of wisdom and guidance to teach us the way we should live.  In the dark parts of our lives, His words shine onto the right path; directing us which way to go.

Consider this:

If you saw  “Solve for x:  2x+4=10” and had never studied algebra, it would look foreign to you.  You need a foundation in math principles and to study algebra to solve this problem.

Why should we approach life’s problems any different?

A firm foundation built on Biblical principles helps us understand what God is trying to teach us.  A daily study helps us solve our daily problems.

Strengthen Your Faith

“Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” Romans 10:17 (NIV)

We expand and deepen our faith by hearing and reading the Word of God. God speaks to us through His Word.  We learn and understand the basis for what we believe.

Reviving the Soul

“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul.” Psalm 19:7 NIV.

His Word is restorative and brings healing.  He does this through forgiveness, cleansing, and giving us His peace and rest.

Food for the Spirit- buffet of food with Psalms 34:8 overlay

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Are you Hungry for God?

“He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.”  Psalm 107:9 NIV

God’s love for us is infinite, and His care and compassion are unlike any other.  Jesus describes Himself as “the bread from heaven” and “the living water.”  When we receive His life-giving offer, we have access to his spiritual food and drink. So starts our journey of becoming more like Him.  He offers a life of the deepest form of happiness and joy, but we sometimes let outward circumstances dull our hunger and desire for Him.

Instead of partaking of food for the spirit, we “fill up” with other people, passions, and things.

But as the hunger pains remain; He faithfully continues to draw us to Himself.  Soaking up His presence through His Word keeps us hungry for Him.  When we hunger and thirst for Jesus, we can easily seek Him out.  He in turn fills us and strengthens us.

Have you been snacking and nibbling at other things?  We can pray for the gift of hunger!  Jesus tells us to persist in pursuing Him- ask, seek, and knock. If we ask, we receive. If you seek, you will find Him. And when you knock, He opens the door. (Matthew 7:7)

Feed Your Soul the Word of God

“Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. 1 Peter 2:2-3 NIV

Peter connects the nourishment we receive from God’s Word with a natural increase in our spiritual appetite and knowledge.

Here’s how I connect it:

My husband makes the world’s best eggs benedict.  Yes, the absolute best. (His hollandaise sauce makes it over the top delicious…)  He recently made it for me and now I’m craving it again.

God’s nourishment to me works the same way.  I’ve tasted how marvelous His grace and mercy, patience and kindness, love, and joy are in my life.  I find all these things in His Word. It makes me crave it more and more.

It still astonishes me that this one book can hold my deep attention for years on end.  I have favorite secular books, some that I’ve read more than once.  But the Bible?  Years upon years of reading and studying only make me want more.

It’s where I find His encouragement and purpose for each season of my life.

It helps me discover what is right and what is wrong.

His Word gives me the courage to face and lead me through life’s challenges.

It’s heartening to read about people like me who have messed up and see how God can still use us.

God crafted each word of Scripture and captured them for all time.  Time hasn’t dulled its truth.  Technology has only increased its reach.  We have no excuse, really, for not reading it.

 

food for the spirit- bible on table with Billy Graham quote overlay

God 1st

Make putting God first your number one goal this year. Not as just a habit; they can be easily broken.  Pray for a heart change to committing to reading and studying His Word daily (I’m praying the same for myself!!)  Pray that your hunger and thirst for His Word will grow deeper. Jesus promises that when we seek God’s kingdom first and what God wants, our Heavenly Father will give us all we need. (Matthew 6: 33)

Blessings!

AnnMarie

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Photo Credit: Canva

 

3 thoughts on “Food for the Spirit”

  1. Pingback: Bible Reading Plans, Grace & Truth ~ Candidly Christian

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