Did I get your attention with the title of this blog post? I hope so! That was my goal. Do you know what the definition of masticate is? If not, let me enlighten you. Masticate is a fancy sounding word that means to chew. And, today I want to talk to you about digestion.
Digestion starts as soon as you take the first bite of a meal. Chewing is the first step in the digestion process and it is a crucial one. Chewing breaks the food into pieces that are more easily digested, while saliva mixes with the food to begin the process of breaking the food down into a form that your body can absorb and use. In other words, if you want to get the most out of your meals, the most nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, you must thoroughly chew your food before you swallow it.
So, what does chewing and digestion have to do with growing closer to God? A lot. Stay with me here.
As a kid, did your mom tell you to take your time and chew your food? To not gobble it up? Or, just not to eat so fast? If so, you had a smart mom! Per science and research, this is one instance where mom knows best. You should slow down and savor your meals. When you chew slowly and chew at least 32 times—it is better for your overall nutrition, digestion, and for telling our brains we are full so we don’t overeat.
I think we should apply these same principles to reading our Bibles. (Or, as I say, Book of Life.) I have been talking a good bit lately about growing spiritually and having a better relationship with Christ. The two best ways we can do this is by spending time reading our Bible each day and by praying. Today I am focusing on reading our Bibles.
Now, I know what you are thinking, reading the Bible is no easy task. It is a big book. Just looking at it can be intimidating. And, depending on which version you have, well, that can make it tougher. I grew up with the King James Version and all those “thous” and “arts” make it difficult to understand. As a theatre nerd, I liken it to reading Shakespeare. (I love Shakespeare, but it takes me a good deal of time to read and understand his plays. And, having two degrees in theatre, I have studied my fair share of them.)
But, fear not! Living in the 21st century has its perks! There are newer translations of the Bible that are easier to read than the King James Version. I know that there are lot of translations available and that in and of itself can be confusing. I am currently reading and studying a New International Version (NIV) of the Bible that was created specifically for study. I really enjoy it. And, below are some suggestions that I want to share with you that I think are helpful in reading your Bible.
First, take some time one day, go to a book store and pick up and read several translations. Buy the one that you understand the most. Personally, I don’t think God cares which version you read, He just wants you to read it. I think you will find the Holy Spirit in all of them! By reading it, you will be spending top quality time with the most important person in your life!
Once you have a Bible that you are comfortable with, schedule a time to read it each day. If you put it in your schedule, you are more likely to do it. You eat three meals a day (or you should) and those are scheduled at certain times. Think of reading your Bible as eating a daily meal. You need the nourishment from the Bible as much, if not more, than you need to eat food each day. Going to church on Sunday is not enough! Can you imagine only eating one day a week? That would suck! If I go a few hours without eating, my head starts to hurt. There is no way I would last a day without food, much less a week, without being completely miserable.
Then, once you have a set time to read your Bible, take your time with it. Go at your own speed. There are no rules here. No one says that you must read a chapter a day, or get through the whole Bible in a year. Maybe you just read for 10 minutes a day, maybe 30. Do what works best for you. But, I do suggest that whatever time you put into it, make it count. Since the Bible is sustenance for the soul, treat it accordingly. Don’t just pop it into your mouth and sallow it--masticate it slowly, savor it, and really enjoy and digest it. There are life-giving words in this book. Let these words become your life-blood. Let them enter your blood stream and flow to every part of your body. Let them renew your spirit, let them rejuvenate you!
And, because it can still be a hard thing to do, let me give you one last suggestion. There is a great book that was published in 2016 that can help you. Do yourself a favor and buy a copy of Charles R. Swindoll’s Searching the Scriptures when you buy your Bible. I found this book in my library when it first came out and I realized that I needed to own it. It is fabulous tool that shows you how to dig deep into the scriptures. Plus, it was a 2017 ECPA Christian Book Award Finalist in the Christian Living category. (ECPA stands for Evangelical Christian Publishers Association. You can read more about them here.) I think this book and a Bible are the two basic tools you will need to begin to transform your spiritual life.
By spending time with God each day by reading your Bible and in prayer, you will be putting yourself in the perfect position to grow in your spiritual life by leaps and bounds.
This is how you will grow your faith. This is how you will grow up. And, this is how you fight the good fight.
I am so glad you are here! I am Erica Strickland, a girl who loves God. My goal here is to simply share His love and light.