Encouragement From The Word

Soul Food

I’ve been thinking this week about the importance of Scripture. That’s probably not a bad thing for a pastor to do, right? But here’s the kicker: I spend a lot of time in Scripture on a weekly basis – partly because I enjoy reading God’s Word, and partly because it’s my job. So it’s easy for me to forget that spending time in the Word may not be atop everyone’s list of priorities.

For the follower of Jesus, though, it needs to be.

As God’s people, we can’t survive on just a Sunday dose of the Bible; we need it all week. The preacher’s job, as I heard one person put it, is to whet the listener’s appetite for the Word of God. When the preacher climbs into the pulpit to expound on Scripture, she or he isn’t giving you a week’s worth of Bible to tide you over; she or he is giving you a taste so that you’ll want more.

Think about it: if I ate one big meal on Sunday evening, would that be enough to sustain me until the following Sunday evening? Of course not. We eat more regularly because the body needs more nourishment, and it needs it in regular intervals, lest we find ourselves malnourished and unable to function normally.

The same is true when we feed on the Word. If all we get comes in one relatively small ‘meal’ called a sermon, once a week, it’s not enough. The Sunday worship experience was never designed to be enough for the week; the message is an act of worship on the part of the pastor, and an opportunity to help the listener desire more.

That’s why small groups, and personal devotional time, are of ultimate importance for the growing Christian. When we take time alone with God and read his Word, there is daily nourishment. And when we take time with a small group of fellow disciples to explore the Word more deeply, there also is nourishment. These disciplines ensure that the soul will not be starved.

What’s more, as we grow, these spiritual ‘meals’ we receive, through reading and studying Scripture, need to become deeper. We can’t thrive and grow if our spiritual input remains at the level of Grade 1 Sunday School (as good as the foundational material is). We need to go deeper if we are going to grow in our walk with the Lord. Are you challenging yourself to do that?

Consider what Peter told the early church: “Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness” (1 Peter 2.2-3, NLT). As we grow up, we move from milk to more substantial foods, so our bodies grow. Likewise, we move from spiritual milk to spiritual meat as our souls develop. Praying with you that your soul is growing deeply in the Lord’s goodness!