Shopping in the forest

Imagine walking through a forest or a jungle and everything you saw, you could eat. Fruits, leaves, twigs, bark, seeds, didn’t matter, it is all edible. Now contrast that with a forest or jungle where some stuff was edible and some stuff is poison, and the more poisonous it is, the more delicious it appears, hold that thought for a moment.

I’ve been thinking about how I am living and doing this Christian life. I was going over how my schedule has morphed and changed over the last several years.

I don’t remember how I used to do it in my earlier years. I somehow knew (more likely was instructed by my mentor Dr. Floyd Jacobson) that I need to study the Bible on my own. It is not enough food for a persons soul to simply rely on a pastors message one day a week to supply all I need spiritually for a 7 day stretch of time. What is that saying? Seven days without reading the Bible makes one weak (week). Would I try to live my life on one meal a week? No I need to feed myself daily, with food and so also with the word of God which is spiritual food. I have had plans and schedules for time to study the Bible in the past, I don’t remember now how I did it but I did it. And then for a while, I didn’t do it. No plan, no schedule, “I’ll get to it, eventually”  I would tell myself, but I didn’t get to it. I listened to Christian radio occasionally and listened to Christian music but even that slowly eroded and I was left with bibles and books about the Bible on shelves but seldom opened, unused CD’s (compact discs, a way of recording and playing musical files) by christian artists. Somehow God called me back into an active relationship with him, (prompting by my Pastor and nudging and urging by my wife certainly played a big part) and I began reading, then studying the bible again. I decided I would do it in the morning. I had to set my alarm for enough time to add some study time.

Now back to the forest or jungle, whichever image you can relate to better. (I like the forest). The Christian life that is lived picking and choosing whatever the culture is offering as a spiritual food source would be like that forest where I didn’t know what was poison and what was good. The Christian life that is lived reading and studying the word of God is more like the first example, everything is good to eat. while studying the bible I can read anywhere in it, and it will feed my soul. The thing about our culture  is that just walking through life, our head, heart and soul are getting crammed a steady diet of our culture, poison and all. We don’t have to choose, our culture will choose for us. The thing is, we can choose, I can choose what I watch, what I listen to, what I read but if I do not choose, I will continue to receive what the culture has chosen for me, force fed, crammed into my soft little brain, my tender heart and my hungry aching soul.

As a Christian I am wanting to live the life  of a Christian, but what does that that life look like? Is it the same as a non-Christians? With just a bookend of church on Sunday? No. Well, it can be but that isn’t a good way to survive. We already talked about how a soul and spirit need to get fed. How do I know about God unless I’m reading God’s words written to his children? How do I know what God expects from me? How do I know who God is or how he acts and reacts towards me, how he feels about me, (he loves me, and loves you too) unless I am reading the book he gave us to learn about him?

Have a plan, or don’t have a plan. Did I have a plan when I used to crawl up into my Dad’s lap for a back scratch? Okay, maybe that’s a bad example, but the bible is a book that will feed us, no matter where we go in it. It does not all taste the same, there are some portions of the bible that are dry as old bones, but even old bones have nourishment if you chew on them.

Paul says this in Romans chapter 12: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

In his letter to the Philippians Paul says this:

“Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.”

Philippians 2:14-16

We are to not conform to the pattern of the world, renew our minds and hold firmly to the word of life. My new schedule of getting up earlier started as hard, this morning it slipped back to hard. I read a little then napped before my second alarm went off alerting me to critical time crunch mode. I don’t want to not be transformed. I don’t want to slip into the shape the world and our culture is trying to press me into. Even after reverting to my old sleepy sleep in ways this morning. I still grabbed a nibble of God’s word.

Christianity, It’s a relationship. Relationships take time, and space, and interaction, and conversation. The Bible is God’s voice to us. My dad and I weren’t close but I do have memories of when we were physically near, in conversation and interacting, sometime a back scratch but usually on a project, building this or that, and those times, the memories are sweet. That is what I believe God wants from us, for us and with us. Time.

The bible is sweet food for our soul.

God is a father who wants to have input into our lives, to have a relationship.

I encourage all of us to get back into the habit of renewing our minds and nourishing our souls, and building our relationship with our Father God by spending more time in his word, the Bible.

Author: Peterloeffelbein

I am a man. I am an older man. I am a husband and a dad and a grandpa. I am a disciple of Jesus. Because I am a disciple of Jesus much of what I write is about him, and I usually end what I write with a question, do you the reader know that Jesus loves you? He does. He loves us all but he loves you specifically. He loves me specifically. What will you do with that information today?