I whisked into La Madeline, closing my umbrella and drying my shoes on the mat. Grabbing a menu, my friend and I thoughtfully made our lunch selection. But before we placed our order, my eyes wandered into the next room and caught a glance of something delightful hiding behind the enclosed glass of the bakery counter. Walking closer to see what was available, my eyes locked in on a delicate, curved glass cup filled with layers of chocolate mousse, cookie crumbs and whipped cream topping. That’s what I want, I declared to my friend.
We said goodbye to the desserts for now, placed our orders and sat down. A few minutes later my steaming hot entree was placed before me. I dug in excitedly and relished the conversation with my friend. As I scooped up the final bite of my Chicken Friand, I thought back to that delicious dessert awaiting me in the lobby. I tried to remember what it looked like. It had looked so good when I walked in, but now the rich flavor of chicken wrapped in a flaky pastry and drizzled with mushroom sauce hung juicy in my mouth. Honestly the urge for chocolate wasn’t there anymore. I don’t know that this has ever happened before… I was fully satisfied with my meal to the point that I didn’t want anything else to replace that lingering flavor.
What an analogy for our spiritual life! We awake first thing in the morning hungry and thirsty. We crave donuts and coffee, anything quick to satisfy the hunger within. Except there’s a catch with consuming sugar. It quickly satisfies, but leaves you craving more later. Donuts and coffee for breakfast lasts until about 10:00, when your blood sugar plummets and leaves you craving…yep…more coffee and donuts. It’s a vicious cycle.
What can break that cycle practically? Protein. Meat. Hearty veggies and complex carbohydrates. We crave the simple sugars for a quick pick-me-up and to satisfy that hunger pain, but we need complex carbohydrates and protein if we’re to have sustained energy. They take longer to digest, and longer to turn off the “I’m hungry” switch in our brain, but they keep us full longer.
Do you see a parallel spiritually?
When I walked into La Madeline, my mouth was watering for anything in the sugar family, anything to dull that gnawing feeling in my stomach we call hunger pain. That’s why the chocolate moose looked so delicious. I would have rather had that than my meal.
Each day our spirit is starved as well. What will we feed it? Coffee and donuts or eggs, bacon, toast and a banana?
What does that look like?
Well, imagine you have 20 minutes of quiet before the kids wake up and the crazy kicks in. How will you spend it? Will you spend it scrolling Facebook, looking for a scripture hidden among the morning newsfeed that will be just what you need? Will you close your eyes, randomly open your Bible, drag your finger across the page, open your eyes and decide that’s your word for the day? Will you read your favorite blog, the one that makes you laugh and feel better about yourself? Do you try to read, but are distracted by notifications pinging all the things that need to be done or what people are saying about your latest Instagram picture?
All of those are like consuming donuts and coffee for breakfast. They may pick you up. They may check the box labeled quiet time. The verses shared or where you landed on the page may be a good verse for your day. The blog may have used scripture, but will that nourishment be enough to sustain you through the temptations and sludge of the day in front of you? Or will they cause you to continually come back again and again throughout the day looking for your next sugar high?
How then can we eat a balanced meal spiritually?
Psalm 1 opens with “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners nor sits in the way of scoffers, but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither.”
If we don’t want our leaves to wither, or our blood sugars to plummet we must plant our self in the Living Water and sink our roots deep into His soil. Only then can we remain stable through the hail, tornadoes, hurricanes, drought and freezing temperatures this life ushers in.
We do that by spending long, intentional, undivided time in His word. Not a blog, not someone else’s eloquent interpretation of the Word. The Word. The Word you actually have to turn the pages of. Psalm 1 says we are blessed when we make His Word our delight. We toss it around in our minds all day. We memorize it. It becomes oxygen to our souls to the point we don’t even crave the stuff we used to consume.
Jesus told the woman at the well, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:13-14
And He said later, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” John 6:51
When we gorge ourselves on the Word of God, and dive deep into His revelation, we grow. We are sustained. We grow deep roots that allow us to bear fruit even through the hard seasons of life. We are fully satisfied to the point that after you’ve eaten from the Living Word, you aren’t hungry anymore for empty calorie words. When you’ve feasted on Chicken Friand at la Madeline, you don’t even want the chocolate mousse afterwards. You are that satisfied.
For further reflection and study –
There is a world out there that wants to satisfy you with its empty teaching, empty worship, empty way of life. It glitters. It sparkles. It has flashing lights. It has the appearance of godliness but is void of power. Be on guard. Test the spirits. If the message isn’t grounded in the life transforming power of Jesus Christ, if it isn’t based on our redemption through Him, that we were dead in our sins, that we do sin and as a result are separated from God, be careful. Be on guard. This is a battle zone everyday. Are you equipped and well nourished to fight well?
Read 2 Timothy 3.
What will there be “in the last days”
What are we to do with it? (verse 5)
What will happen to everyone who strives to follow Christ? (verse 12)
How does this passage describe the Word of God? (verse 16-17)