We need to eat food to sustain our physical life and to keep us healthy. But just because we have to eat doesn’t mean it’s a tedious chore. In fact, eating is an enjoyment to us, especially when the food is tasty.
Similarly, the Bible tells us that God’s Word sustains us and keeps us spiritually healthy. But how do we feel about reading the Word of God? Is our time in God’s Word a dry, tedious duty we must fulfill? Or is it a time of enjoyment and nourishment? God desires that our time in His Word would be not a duty but a delight.
God tastes sweet and good
God doesn’t want us to know Him just mentally in our head. Many verses throughout the Bible indicate God actually wants us to taste Him in our heart through His Word. Let’s look at just two of them.
1. Psalms 119:103:
“How sweet are Your words to my taste!
Sweeter than honey to my mouth!”
2. 1 Peter 2:2-3:
“As newborn babes, long for the guileless milk of the word in order that by it you may grow unto salvation, if you have tasted that the Lord is good.”
Since God’s words come out of His very being, they carry the flavor of God. The two verses above tell us that the flavor of God in His Word is sweet and good.
Many verses in the Bible reveal that God can be enjoyed in His Word, so if the Word is tasteless to us, the problem can’t be with the Word. It must be with the way we come to it.
How to come to a feast
Let’s say someone is invited to a feast. When he arrives, he sees many tasty and delicious dishes. But he didn’t come to eat the feast. Instead, he came to study the food and gather information about each dish. He even came hoping the host would give a lecture about food.
Obviously, this guest won’t enjoy much of the feast, not because the food isn’t enjoyable but because he came with the wrong intention. He has to come with the intention of eating, tasting, and enjoying each dish. No matter how much he learns about the food, he can’t taste it if he doesn’t eat it.
Since the Word of God is a real feast set before us by God, how do we come to it with the intention of enjoying Him?
1. We should come to the Bible with our heart turned to and hungry for God.
Our heart is the gateway of our whole being. If our heart is turned away from the Lord, we won’t see Him or taste Him in His Word. We need to come to the Word not with a cold mind but with a warm and open heart.
Praying a little before we even open our Bible helps warm and turn our hearts to the Lord: “Lord Jesus, I love You. I turn from other things to You. I come to You in Your Word not out of duty but because I love You. I’m hungry for You, Lord. I open my heart up to You.”
2. We should come to the Bible to eat Christ by using our spirit.
If we approach the Bible as if it were a textbook, we’ll miss receiving nourishing life from God’s Word. We may get some objective knowledge about God or learn something interesting, but we won’t taste the Lord’s goodness or sweetness. As we illustrated previously, we experience the taste of food not by studying it, but by eating it.
We must consider God’s Word as spiritual food for us to eat. The Lord Jesus told us in John 6 not that He is the textbook for us to study but that He is the living bread for us to eat, and that we must eat Him in order to live by Him. Of course He didn’t mean we must eat His physical flesh, for in verse 63 He said, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words which I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.”
Since His words are spirit and life, we must use our human spirit to touch the Spirit in the Word in order to receive life. Besides using our mind to read the Word, we must use even more our spirit to go further to touch the Spirit. Only our spirit can contact the life-giving Spirit.
As we come to the Bible we can pray, “Lord Jesus, thank You, Your words are spirit and life. I turn within to my spirit to contact You as the Spirit in the Word. Feed me, Lord, with Yourself. May Your Word be the bread of life to me.”
3. We should come to the Bible to focus not on ourselves but on the Lord’s wonderful Person and all He is.
If we read the Bible mainly to get help on how to behave, how to live a good life, or how to improve ourselves, we’ll miss eating and tasting the Lord. Physically speaking, it’s food that changes us and makes us grow. Similarly, we are truly changed and even spontaneously transformed to the image of Christ not by outwardly improving our behavior but by inwardly receiving nourishment as we eat and enjoy Christ in His Word.
A simple prayer can focus us on Christ in His Word: “Lord Jesus, I focus on You. I want to see and enjoy Your wonderful Person in Your Word. Show me more of Yourself, Lord.”
Even short prayers can help us turn our heart, eat the Lord as food in the Word, and focus on Christ; they can make all the difference to our experience of tasting God in His Word.
Enjoying the taste of God in His Word
When we taste how sweet and how good God is in His Word, we’ll gladly come back for more because we experience a joy beyond words. Our daily time in the Word won’t be a dry chore. Instead, the words of Jeremiah 15:16 will be our testimony:
“Your words were found and I ate them, and Your word became to me the gladness and joy of my heart.”
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