How long can you go without eating a good meal?
I don’t mean a snack, or grabbing a meal from your favorite fast food place; I mean a substantially filling meal that leaves you feeling satisfied and nourished.
I can last about one work week on frozen food entrees before I start looking for “home cooking” recipes online.
And while I can definitely survive for a while on frozen food, I would not do well at all if I just intermittently snacked (“hangry” would accurately describe my mood by the end of that day).
But that is exactly what I do spiritually.
Running on Empty
Recently, life circumstances forced me to get into God’s Word every morning and every evening. I needed supernatural strength, and getting fed once a week on Sunday was not cutting it. I was trying to sustain myself on the fumes of previously learned truths instead of daily spending time with God for the strength He desired to give.
One of my favorite accounts in the Old Testament is when some of the children of Israel decided to hoard the manna God provided for them. The only problem was that it rotted if they collected more than what God commanded. I wonder if Jesus had that in mind when He told His disciples to ask for their daily allotment of nourishment when they prayed.
Could the same principle be applied to feeding our spirit? Since God tells us we are not to live on bread alone, but on His Word, I think we can safely make that assumption — we need daily spiritual bread.
Obstacles to Receiving Daily Bread
Here is my subconscious thought pattern when I am trying to hoard God’s spiritual nourishment: “Well, God very clearly told me He would be faithful in my life last month so … He still will be … I hope so … anyway, I’m really struggling believing that now, but I shouldn’t ask Him again since He already told me once.”
That type of thinking is like a child not asking for dinner because he ate the previous day.
Like any good parent, God invites us to the table for every meal. Not only does He enjoy giving us wisdom, He gives generously (James 1:5). That means I can go to Him again and again to ask for all the spiritual nourishment I need. Praise God!
Another way I was turning down nourishment was by committing what I call the “pill-taking fallacy.” This is when your doctor prescribes medicine, you take it, feel better, then stop taking it because you feel better. The silly thing is you start feeling bad again because you stopped doing the very thing that was helping you (I’ve maybe done this with my supplemental vitamins).
Spiritually, I eagerly and thankfully accepted my personalized, much-needed word from the Lord. I felt better, so I didn’t seek after Him as desperately and I started to rely on my own strength. I stopped acknowledging my utter dependence on God. I do OK relying on my own strength — until I feel absolutely exhausted from trying to maintain it.
I wish I could tell you I’ve learned my lesson and no longer try to make it on not-so-daily bread, but it is a daily struggle. Here are some tips that help me in my practice of seeking daily bread:
Get comfortable with being needy: I have to constantly remind myself that on my own, I can do nothing. I can’t even scrape up the energy to love God as I should. I can’t help myself in my own strength. Once I truly realize that, I can go running to Him as my source of nourishment. Realizing this also helps take the pressure off of trying to perform for God.
Get honest with God: This has helped me tremendously. If I’m struggling, I tell Him. If I don’t like or understand what He’s doing, I express that to Him. God and I often have to wade through my emotional junk before I can open my heart to receive His good word.
Get a routine: Set a time every day and stick to it. Right now I’m reading through a Bible study geared specifically to what I need help with in this season. When my designated time to do Bible study rolls, I see it as “mealtime.” Having a set time helps me be consistent in meeting with God consistently and expectantly.
What has helped you find time for God each day? What changes have you seen in your life and heart as a result?