Too often Christian disciples are in want of a spiritual life or deeper devotional experience, yet cannot find it. Coupled with air/prayer is the concept of feeding/reading. Just as the new man of Christ is born and needs to breathe without ceasing, the same also needs nourishment. Just as we eat physical food, in our spiritual life we must eat to gain strength, nutrition, and energy. Just as we have the choice between nutritious foods and empty calories, the spiritual life can also be affected by profound and enrichening truths or by empty rituals and “fluff.” The lack of study of God’s Word results in atrophy, lack of motivation and energy, weakness, hunger, and eventually death. The ideal balance of discipleship will incorporate all three sources of discipleship’s power (more on the third one next week).
Disciples who do not feed on the Word have no spiritual life. Jesus says in John 6:53, 63, “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. . . . The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” Just as any follower would know and treasure the words and teachings of his or her teacher, Christian disciples should know and treasure the words and teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. The difference is that His Word is not just a philosophy or way of life but the actual means by which supernatural transformation and conversion occur.
Disciples who feed on the Word have positive energy and joyous enthusiasm. Jeremiah describes His experience with God’s Word in Jeremiah 15:16 as such: God’s words were “found, and I ate them, and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; for I am called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts.” Again, not taking a rhetorical or scholastic function, the Bible takes on an existential role that impacts purpose, identity, calling, and attitude for life.
The Bible should be read as many times as it is needed for spiritual sustenance. Without air/prayer, spiritual death by asphyxiation is immediate; without feeding/reading, however, spiritual death by starvation is gradual. Scripture records that there is a special affinity between God’s Word and the morning (Ezek. 12:8; Ps. 119:147; Jer. 25:3). The exact time of day is not as important as establishing a consistent relationship of speaking (prayer) and listening to God (Bible study).