Remember that line from those Snickers commercials? I just love that ad campaign. I’ve always heard, “Never go grocery shopping when you are hungry.” Know what? It’s true! My wife Debbie will send me grocery shopping when the budget is a little tight. She sends me because I have a list—and I stick to that list. If it ain’t on the list it ain’t going in the shopping cart, unless it is a really good sale price. BUT, you should know I have a but to put in here, if I go when I’m hungry, I stray big time from that list. So, I don’t go grocery shopping when I’m hungry.
Here’s another but, BUT when it comes to reading God’s Word (The Bible), I need to be hungry; otherwise I will probably miss what my heart is truly hungry for. To limit one’s self to a list when grocery shopping is a good habit. My tendency is that without that list I buy too much of the wrong stuff and forget what we really need. I even have an app on my phone to help me stay with “The List”. (FYI, my favorite app is ColorNote®)
When it comes to God’s Word, many people read it with a shopping list. For many people that shopping list doesn’t have “How Can I Be More Like The Real Jesus”. It has things like, “How can I prove my point? How can I find a verse to justify my life?” Unfortunately our “twisted-unrenewed-untransformed-into-the-mind-of-Christ” perspective will usually find a verse (taken out of context of course) that justifies our position and our life. The Bible isn’t God’s gift to help us feel better about ourselves, but His gift to help us know Him better. Maybe it is better that we just go hungry while “shopping” in the Word. And in knowing Him better, see a truer image of ourselves. This truer image of ourselves starts with understanding our own brokenness and sin. As a side note, read the Bible to see where your life is going wrong, not to point out what’s wrong with others and the world
Let’s look at Matthew 13:1-9 (The Message)
At about that same time Jesus left the house and sat on the beach. In no time at all a crowd gathered along the shoreline, forcing him to get into a boat. Using the boat as a pulpit, he addressed his congregation, telling stories. “What do you make of this? A farmer planted seed. As he scattered the seed, some of it fell on the road, and birds ate it. Some fell in the gravel; it sprouted quickly but didn’t put down roots, so when the sun came up it withered just as quickly. Some fell in the weeds; as it came up, it was strangled by the weeds. Some fell on good earth, and produced a harvest beyond his wildest dreams.” “Are you listening to this? Really listening?”
Inside each of us is a hunger that will never go away. People are always trying to satisfy that hunger. Some try things like money, possessions, drugs, and power. Others even try to fill that hunger with respectability. They try to give the appearance of being kind, caring and loving. They try to believe if they look good, then they are good. They truly put on a good show, so good that they are able to hide the emptiness from others, but never from themselves.
This hunger is so much more than anything on this earth can fill. It is a hunger to hear the voice of God, to hear His Word in a way that is both to us and for us. Our hearts cry out to hear God speak to us. We try to silence that cry by occupying our time with other things, but the heart still cries out. The heart knows what the heart wants and needs. We try to silence it, but it will not go away. If you try to give it anything other than The Word, it will not be satisfied. To truly pursue the heart of God, you must have that unending appetite for His Word. To hunger for the Word means we want to encounter the living God. There’s more to The Word than ink and pages. Every word of the Bible is meaningless without the Presence of God.
There is not a single word in this book that will transform us without the Power of God. I do not mean to be irreverent to God, but I may offend someone who hears this: Having a well worn Bible does not necessarily mean you have a well formed life in Christ. Our heart hungers for a way to hear the voice of God in a way that is personal, and in a way that acknowledges 3 things: And we will look at them tomorrow.