Feed Yourself the Word of God
When your words came, I ate them;
they were my joy and my heart’s delight,
for I bear your name, Lord God Almighty.
Jeremiah 15:16 (NIV)
If you anchor your life in meditation and contemplation of the God who has given you redemption and graced you with salvation, you don’t need anybody else to tell you that you have capabilities, capacities, and abilities. No. When you meditate on God, you get up from meditation feeling like you can leap over walls, living as more than a conqueror, anointed and gifted to get the job done, fully capable of doing all things through Christ who gives you strength. You feel like you live with the entire force of heaven behind you and a great cloud of witnesses who are cheering you on, like your faith makes all things possible and attainable and achievable.
Care enough about your life to feed it more than what will pass and fade away. The grass will wither, and the flowers will fade, but the Word of our God shall abide forever.
You know how a person cares for himself, what he thinks about himself, and what he feeds himself by what comes out of him—how he speaks about the things that are relevant and important to his life, what he thinks of others, and how he treats other people.
• It’s not about his accumulation—but is there any evidence of generosity?
• It’s not about what he criticizes—but does he live extending mercy and grace?
• It’s not about what he holds as a grudge, but can he forgive since he lives forgiven?
When we feed ourselves the Word of God, we stay sane in a crazy world. For many of us, the only thing that’s keeping us from going crazy as well is that we are seated in God’s presence and clothed in His righteousness, in perfect peace because our mind is stayed on Him. The only reason you don’t go off when somebody hurts your feelings, or respond by giving evil for evil, is because God has done inside renovation though the meditation on, memorization of, and practice of His Word.
Care enough about your spiritual health, and be aggressive enough to protect your graced place in life, that you feed yourself the Word of God.
A Little Does a Lot
He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.”
(Luke 17:6 NIV)
If you can trust God with just a small prayer, a small idea, a small sacrifice, He can turn it into something that has kingdom-size impact and blesses many. You may start with just a small desire…
• To get off of drugs.
• To get out of an abusive situation.
• To go back to school.
• To try and make a difficult call.
• To take one small step.
It doesn’t matter how seemingly insignificant that desire may be—you can trust God for the rest. He can make up the difference. He can cover the space. He can answer the prayer. And He can put His anointing on it.
This is what is required of you: to trust God so strong, so heavy, and so deep that you will testify, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength,” knowing in your heart that with men things are impossible, but with God all things are possible.
Those seemingly insignificant things can make significant impact, because if you give God something small, He can turn it around and make it something cataclysmically big. Little becomes much when you place it in the Master’s hands.
I’ve done that with my bills. I’ve done that with my dreams. I’ve done that with my faith. I’ve said, “God, all I have is a little. This is all I have to negotiate with.” And He said, “That’s all I need. All I need is faith the size of a mustard seed. Let Me prove it to you.”
Eyes have not seen, ears have not heard, and minds have not conceived what great things God has in store for you. Don’t you let go of that dream. Don’t you let go of that thought. Don’t you let go of that small little discipline. I don’t care if all you have is a tiny idea—you keep churning it and you keep praying about it. You keep offering it to the Lord and you keep making it your sacrifice unto Him.
I promise you that God can take that tiny bit and use it to prove to you that He can radically change your world.
It is through Jesus that we are empowered to do great things. So confess to Him that your belief is small. He will help your unbelief, because His grace is sufficient!
Stay in the Conversation
And John, calling two of his disciples to him, sent them to Jesus, saying, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?”
(Luke 7:19 NKJV)
John the Baptist was fully aware of who Jesus was. He grew up knowing it. He leaped in his mother’s womb when in the presence of Jesus. John’s ministry in the wilderness was preaching about Christ. He baptized Jesus and affirmed his belief with the announcement, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.”
John knows who Jesus is, but John’s faith is no longer in the wilderness; now it’s in prison. He’s facing death and he knows it. Here in prison, his faith is being challenged. He tells one of his followers to go find Jesus and ask him, “Are You the One? Or should we look for another?”
Some people would say this is John giving over to the fragility of his faith. I don’t subscribe to that. He’s not losing faith. He’s growing faith. Why? Because he’s wrestling. He is questioning. He is fighting. He’s trying to figure it out. He’s screaming back at his doubts, “I know that Jesus is real, even though I’m stuck in prison. I know that Jesus is real even though I feel that my life is ebbing away from me.” John is essentially asking Jesus, “You’ve still got me, right?” This is not doubt. It’s mediating the conversation in one’s head and in one’s spirit.
Whatever else is going on in your life and in your mind, here’s my admonishment, my encouragement to you: stay in the conversation.
Don’t withdraw from the challenge. I don’t care how hard it gets. I don’t care how much your uncertainties are screaming at you. I don’t care if they’re winning the debate today as long as you wake up tomorrow and you bring your certainties back to the conversation again.
Whatever else, no matter how fragile you feel, no matter how weak, no matter how you seem to be in a losing position, at least make this one assertion: “Regardless of how strong my uncertainty is, I’m not leaving the conversation.”
The questions you are asking and the feelings you are nurturing, the ambiguity and the presence of pain, the self-doubt, the personal disappointment, the fear, the anger you’re trying to make sense of… all of these things are forcing a conversation that is necessary for your growth. So stay at it, because just by staying in the conversation, your faith will be deepened.
Meditate on the Word
"My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises.”
(Psalm 119:148 NIV)
You become what you muse over.
You are what you think, reflect, and meditate on.
That means you’ve got to let God’s Word speak louder into your life than anything or anybody else. God invites you to come inside, to meditate on His words, and to be impacted by that shift of thought. We are called to live from the inside out, and that means we have to change what we muse over. When I say “meditate,” what do I mean?
• I’m not talking about merely quieting your life down and being less busy, though that has value.
• I’m not suggesting a weekend without TV or cell phone, though that certainly couldn’t hurt.
• I’m not referring to a time away from human interaction, though that can also be worthwhile.
• And I don’t mean a day at home to stay in bed and rest, though you may need that as well.
I’m talking about coming inside your life to squeeze the words of God, like squeezing juice from a fruit, so that you can extract the robustness of what God has intended for you.
Meditation is not a duty, task, or chore. It is a joy—because any time you deeply reflect on God and His unfailing Word, you will hear and see and experience something that’s going to change your life forever.
You have to make yourself a priority enough to care about what you feed your own life. You may not be able to stop what other people shove in your direction, but you can certainly decide what you are going to feed yourself. All the noise and drama that floats around your life should push you to go inside and to be a good steward over what you feed your inner life.
If you want the best for your life, it necessitates that you feed your life the Word and the ways of God. As a result, when evil wants to root itself in your life, it’s going to have to deal with the presence of a sovereign God who brings all His power to bear on your spiritual wellbeing.
Care enough about your life to be intentional about what you’re feed yourself spiritually. Nourish your heart, mind, and soul with the Word of God.
A Little Leaven
Another parable He spoke to them: “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.”
(Matthew 13:33 NKJV)
Jesus shares a short but powerful parable to give us an image of the transforming power of the gospel.
The message of His parable is that any exposure at all to the gospel has the power to totally transform a person’s life. Just as faith only needs to be in small measure to invoke mammoth change, the same holds true for the gospel. Any amount of saturation of the gospel in one’s life can transform it entirely. That’s the power of the kingdom of God. That’s the power of a gospel that announces and proclaims the love and the salvation found in Christ alone.
Jesus images it like this: a woman wants to make bread and has many pounds of fresh dough. In order to get that dough to rise, she takes some fermenting acidic dough from a previous batch and she skillfully and carefully kneads it in, knowing that this leaven will make the whole lump rise.
That’s it. This simple picture tells us that the kingdom revealed and accepted—even in small embrace, with small amounts of belief—has the power to transform. Encountering Jesus in any fashion has enormous impact. It can have “raising” capacity in ways that the human mind cannot imagine.
• Raising awareness of the need to settle matters that deal with eternal possibilities.
• Raising acceptance of divine intentionality connected to your human journey.
• Raising internal awareness of spiritual gifts and graces that are to be lived out in relational exchanges with others.
Jesus brings raising power to the life of a believer. The encouragement of this is significant because it suggests to us all that any exposure to the promises of God, any practice of the discipline of prayer, any time spent in the Word of God, any minute offered to meditate about God’s presence in your life, is enough to start a raising process that can make the rest of your life an abundant life with kingdom-size impact.
How will you work some of that leaven into the dough of your life today?