“Just a few more bites, then you can be done.”
I have said this phrase hundreds of times and my oldest isn’t even 5 years old. I know I’m no gourmet cook, but I also know the food I put on the table is edible and mostly tasty. More importantly, it’s what he needs to live. And because I want him to live a healthy, beautiful life we do it again and again, 3 times a day, every day.
Why is it so hard to like what’s healthy? Why do I love donuts and hate kale? I’m sure there are scientific answers but I believe there are spiritual ones as well.
I had no real concept of nutrition until my sophomore year of college when I took a sports nutrition class. Before that I knew only what experience taught me. I knew that my mom made me eat fruit daily and didn’t like us to eat candy or sweets and that we had to eat all the salad at dinner before we ate the rest. I knew that since ditching her rules and eating at the campus dining hall I had gained roughly 10 lbs and should probably stop having the soft service ice cream every night on my way out the door. I knew these things, but didn’t understand the why until that class taught me all about proteins, carbohydrates and fats. It wasn’t until I understood metabolic rates and muscle glycogen that my weight gain and food choices became a lot more important in my mind.
We only know what we’ve learned and until we are taught more it is difficult to want to change, much less do it.
Once I learned the physiological why to food choices (caloric intake) and exercise (caloric output) it was much easier to say no to ice cream and yes to vegetables.
The same is true with the word of God. We know we ought to read it. We should know what it says. But until we do we are left only with what we’ve been taught – be it by church or family or culture. Often our experience with the Bible will shape our view of it.
I am so thankful that I had a mom who not only insisted on fruits and vegetables but also a healthy diet of scripture reading and daily devotions. My parents both modeled daily Bible reading and also encouraged us to do it. I didn’t do it regularly until college, around the same time as that nutrition class, interestingly enough.
I grew up knowing it was good for me but not really feeding it to myself. Praise God for His Spirit drawing me in and awakening me to the truth of His word.
“My son, keep your father’s commandment,
and forsake not your mother’s teaching.
Bind them on your heart always;
tie them around your neck.
When you walk, they will lead you;
when you lie down, they will watch over you;
and when you awake, they will talk with you.
For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light,
and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life,”
If the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge and from the Lord comes wisdom and understanding then I want to know these words, I want to live by these truths. The only way to do that is to first learn them, then apply them – to hear and receive and to humbly ask God to transform us by them.
When reading Proverbs 6 this week I was struck in two ways, as a child of God and as a mother. First as His daughter I read the words and received the instruction God gives to hear and keep them close. It’s an active part we must take. And it was followed with a promise, that His words and wisdom will lead us as we walk, go to sleep and wake up. He claims that these very words will guide us in life as both a lamp and a light as we walk with Him. The way of life itself is set by the teaching, correction and discipline He offers. He is a loving God, a loving Father, who wants to teach us what is best.
And it is His very heart that compels me, as a mother, to heed these words so that I can model and teach them. I hope and pray my boys will develop a love and hunger for the word of God for I know there is life there. As they see Jesus, learn the character of God and interact with the Holy Spirit in these words and in their lives they will be blessed. As they obey and adore God they will have abundant life. But just like leafy greens, it’s not always appealing. So I will strive to serve them a healthy portion of God’s word, I will model it in hopes that one day they too will taste and see the goodness of the Lord. I pray that they discover that just like correctly roasted brussel sprouts or asparagus in a sun-dried tomato alfredo sauce are scrumptious and easy to eat, that the word of God is also delightfully palatable and incredibly satisfying. And really Jesus is the bread of life, can anything be more delicious than bread!? Well, perhaps a donut.
PS this post reminded me of funny meme I saw a while back.