When You Just Need to Eat

But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. Hebrews 5:14

My kids were really embarrassing me.

Their guitar teacher, Sam, had just arrived at our house. Usually the boys are eager to welcome him and begin their lesson. Well, ok, they do not always readily sit down and work, but they do get excited to see their teacher.

But not this day. This day I had twin boys down the hallway, creating excuses not to come out to the living room. I ended up wrapping my arms around one of these 11 year-olds, practically dragging him through the doorway.

Not exactly a warm welcome for the teacher, huh?

One kiddo started begging for a banana, and I said no because they were already late getting started, and I figured he was just making more excuses.

In order to avoid the humiliation of my children’s atypical behavior, I ducked into the kitchen to create the night’s meal.  Moments later, Sam popped his head into the kitchen, trying to figure out how to tell me that a lesson was clearly not going to happen today.

Not ready to give up, I went to check out the situation. I immediately offered everyone bananas, hoping that a little attention to their stomachs would help them to put their attention to their instruments. After a little casual chatting between bites, they threw out their empty and limp peels, and got to work. 

As I was back mixing, simmering, and searing at the stove, I kept my ears tuned in for any signs of defeat from Teacher Sam. To my pleasant surprise, the twins actively participated in both book work and practical playing for the rest of their scheduled lesson. Hallelujah!

A week before the twins came to live with me a few years ago, I was chatting with a mom of four. Her oldest two boys are a little older than the twins. I was asking for any tidbits of advice she could offer. One of the first gifts from her mouth was to always have healthy snacks available for them. She talked about how her boys especially, often needed to eat, more than she expected. Whenever they were the slightest bit hungry, it would come out in negative behavior. I stored that gold nugget of wisdom in my pocket, and began what has become a continuous purchase of bananas.  

Now, I grew up with three brothers, and I do not remember food being such a big deal in my house. Maybe my brothers were an anomaly. Or maybe I was just a little sister, not thinking about mothering, and didn’t notice. Or maybe, just maybe, that is why I felt like they were torturing me most of the time.  Hmmmm….

Isn’t it amazing the impact that food, can have on our behavior? Even our thoughts?

If we are lacking food, it shows up in all aspects of our lives. We are irritable, short-tempered, impatient, rude, irrational, fatigued, and unmotivated. If we are regularly nourishing ourselves, it shows up in all aspects of our lives too. We are refreshed, energetic, patient, reasonable, polite, and driven.

Truth is, it’s not just physical food that impacts us so significantly, but spiritual food as well. Those same lists still apply, but we can add a few more. With proper spiritual nourishment we exchange hopelessness for hope, fear for peace, bitterness for forgiveness, doubt for trust, and discouragement for joy.

1 Peter 2:2 says we should long for God’s Word as newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk. Babies love milk, and need it. Often. Babies can live off of pure milk for months on end, perfectly content. It provides all their bodies need for nourishment and growth at those early stages. And babies certainly grow rapidly.

Are we like those babies? Do we crave God’s Word so intensely that we need it and need it often? That we will not be satisfied with an alternative? Are we taking in God’s Word and experiencing nourishment and growth within our souls?

In Hebrews 5:12-14, we are instructed that we need to reach a point in our walk with Christ that we are no longer living on milk alone, but are mature enough for solid food. He equates its constant use with training ourselves to distinguish good from evil.

Basically, we need to start by understanding who God is and what life with Him is all about through reading His Word. With that foundation, we need to start living like we know what we have read in His Word and applying its truth to our lives.

Sometimes I wonder if God is looking at me the way I was looking at my boys when their guitar lesson should have already started and I was wondering what on earth was happening to them. Is He thinking, Lisa, what are you doing? Why are you behaving like this? You know my Word! Here, eat a banana drink up this pure milk. Stop neglecting what your soul needs. Read my Word! Now, feast on some solid food before you attempt to do any another thing.

Just like I can spot it in my children when they need some physical nourishment in order to make better choices with their words and actions, I need to be better about spotting it in myself when I need some spiritual nourishment in order to make better choices with my words and actions.  Anyone with me on this one?