Over the past year and a half, I have been substituting real sugar for the fake stuff. I know, I know…there’s a hot debate right now about the pros and cons of fake sugar. But, my scale tells me that fake sugar, for the most part, is better for me than the real deal. And while I use it to sweeten my drinks and oatmeal, there is one area where I flat-out refuse to make substitutions, and that is in dessert. I know there are tons of recipes out there for “delicious” sugar-free desserts, but I don’t want them. Regardless of what any chef or nutritionist says, fake sugar in dessert tastes NOTHING like the real thing! And if I’m going to indulge, I’m doing it right!!
The same principle is true in my study of God’s Word. (Okay, I know this was a ridiculous transition, but would you really have kept reading otherwise?) I love daily devotionals. I have several great devotional books I go to for a quick read and they are inspiring and comforting and thought-provoking. Heck, I write a devotional blog! However, devotionals can only get me so far in my relationship with God.
I have a devotional book I use off and on throughout the year. It is beautifully written with lots of lovely images of God’s amazing power and love and grace. But sometimes, I need more than pretty. Sometimes, I need something more than quick. Sometimes, I need to immerse myself in God’s Word and to allow his Spirit to move within my heart and mind, speaking those words to me he wants me to take into the day.
When I take the time to sit in God’s presence, to soak in God’s Word for myself, independent of anyone else, then I am growing deeper into my relationship with God. When I take the time to soak in God’s Word, to read more than a scattering of verses here and there, I get a better and bigger and more complete picture of who God is. When I take time to meditate on God’s Word, to think and ponder over the text, I am better able to discern God’s plans for me, and to see how my little life can better fit into the grand scheme of things.
Sometimes, when I spend too much time depending on other people’s views of God, I feel a lose my own relationship with God. A couple of weeks ago I picked up my daily devotional and started to read. The words were beautiful and comforting, but instead of feeling fulfilled, I felt absolutely empty. The devotional was meaningless to me. So, rolling my eyes, I said “Whatever” and put it aside. In that moment, I realized I needed to drink from that well I had been neglecting. I needed the Word–not a substitute for it, no matter how lovely and well-intended that substitute may have been.
Since then, I’ve rearranged my schedule a bit to fit in some Bible reading time. Instead of showering in the morning, I shower in the evening. It’s a little change that doesn’t take much, but making that change has given me the opportunity to become grounded again. The Word is my anchor–it is the way in which God and I communicate best. I can’t do the tasks God has called me to do without it. And although the book of Zechariah might not be as moving or relevant to my life as Paul’s letter to the Philippians, it still reveals to me some important qualities of God. It shows me the absolute and complete love God has for His people. It shows me how far God is willing to go to bring his children back to them. It established God’s expectations for living. And it helps me to grow in my faith.
The Word is an anchor for our lives. Don’t substitute it out for something else.
Blessings and Peace,