Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. ~ Matthew 4:4
Visiting for a long weekend, my dad sits on the built-in bench behind our kitchen table watching me cook. “How long do you boil your spaghetti?” he asks. “Nine minutes.” Knowing he’s grasping at conversational straws, I can’t help but goad him. “Why do you ask?” He answers with grave solemnity, lowering his voice as he scrunches his face, staring off into a void. “Your mother always cooks it for thirteen. It gets… mushy.” We exchange a significant glance. Poor guy. “Well, right here on the box it says, 'cook 9 to 11 minutes.’ We like it al dente so I always follow the nine-minute rule.”
As I set the timer and stir the sauce I can’t help but chuckle. This is so like them: enduring fifty-two years of bad spaghetti without so much as a glance at the instructions printed on every box.
Humankind is no better. We assume we know how to live, without reading God’s instructions for living. What a recipe for disaster. The bible is God’s written revelation of himself to and for us, "useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness," (2 Timothy 3:16). The wise few embrace this gift; as a result, they feast on excellent spaghetti, and are satisfied. Life is a tasty meal when prepared according to the instructions.
I know people who discard the Bible entirely as untrue, never having read a word of it. What pride! Is it any better to pick and choose which parts to believe, or to read it through once and assume you know it all? I’m sure my mom (the sweetest woman on earth, whom I adore) read the instructions on the spaghetti box at some point, early in her married life. She must have set the timer properly for a while. But, over time, her imperfect human brain muddled the information. By never reading the instructions again she operated for years under a false assumption, and we all—one guy in particular—suffered as a result.
Reading the bible daily is a spiritual discipline. In her book A Woman’s Guide to Fasting, Lisa Nelson writes that spiritual disciplines (prayer, bible study, meditation, fasting, etc.) "are your way of cooperating with God while He transforms your eternal soul." Who wouldn’t want that? Cooperating with God is a whole lot easier than the alternative.
Every believer needs to eat God’s word daily, or her spirit will starve. That’s not good for her, or the people for whom she's responsible. Why should any of us muddle through on our own? God’s Word is alive, active, and available on a massive scale. Interacting with God through Scripture is the tastiest of delicacies. Join the feast today, tomorrow, and every day. Until you give it a try, you won’t know what you’re missing. Just because you’ve gotten used to overcooked pasta doesn’t mean it’s any good.
Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us. ~ 2 Timothy 3:17, The Message