As I was making my hot oat bran cereal this morning, I heard the spirit say, “Eat it without sugar.” My face contorted as I considered the command. As I made my hot tea, I heard, “Enjoy it without sugar.” Enjoy? Without sugar? Can that even happen? I have been learning obedience lately, knowing that it is only through our obedience to His will that God works. I sat down at my window and tried to appreciate the view, though everything was wet and forlorn. Nothing is going to be enjoyable this morning.
My first bite of oats almost made me cry. I looked into the bowl trying to figure out how many more bites it would take to finish off the bowl, trying to figure out if I was going to survive it without throwing up. I decided to leave the tea alone until after the bowl was finished. One horrible experience at a time, please. But then I remembered the word, “Enjoy.” Once again, enjoy? What does that mean? The taste of oats without sugar is comparable to wet dirt, and tea without sugar is bitter water. I like water. I could have lived with water. Tea without sugar is like drinking dirty water.
I humbled myself and began to eat and listen. Obviously God was trying to tell me something. What is it about myself that made this command so difficult? Turns out, it’s because I am a sensually driven individual. The majority of Americans are. We refuse anything that doesn’t satisfy us in some way. Food has to taste good to be appealing. Eating has to be enjoyable. We have taken something that was meant to be a source of nourishment and have used it to construct something that caters to our flesh. As I continued eating, I began to think about people in third world countries who often have little to eat and I wonder how they do it? I read recently an article about Karl Rabeder, the millionaire who is giving away all his possessions and he mentioned that people in third world countries have less possessions but are happier people.
Could it be that they are happier because they are not driven or ruled by their flesh, but have found satisfactions in things of God, such as love, family, giving? You know, the simple things in life. I thought about how the bible tells us that the spirit and the flesh are opposed to each other. The flesh desires things that are opposed to the spirit and the spirit desires things that magnify and glorify God. My simple reasoning tells me that the more I cater to my flesh, the more I will miss out on the awesomeness of God in my life. No wonder Paul said he had to die daily to his flesh. No wonder Jesus told us we had to be crucified as he was, crucified in the flesh so that we could live in the spirit.
Flesh is bondage. Bondage to self and sensual desires. Bondage to the opinions of others. Bondage to the world. The bible tells us, “You have been bought with a price. Don’t become slaves of men. (1 Corinthians 7:23)” Don’t be enslaved by yourself or anyone else. Be set free. Free to live in the spirit. Claim your freedom, for you have already been bought and freed.
As I began to drink the tea, I reflected on the many times I’ve heard people say they just can’t sit and read the Bible. They don’t like to read, they find it boring, etc. I sympathize. Tea is a staple of my morning routine. A cup of green tea with just enough sugar to make it sweet. My definition of enjoyable. Your definition of enjoyable when it come to reading may be that it have a good story line, a foreseeable plot. A flowing, progressable story. A story that doesn’t challenge you, but that just takes you along for the ride. While I find the Bible to be the most satisfying read ever, I understand that many people don’t. After all, some of it lacks sweetness. Examining yourself through the word is often bitter, as you realize how badly you need change in areas of your life.
My humble meal this morning has challenged me and I pray that it challenges you. Press in to the good things of God. Just as my oatmeal this morning, though not palatable, satisfied the hunger inside me and the tea satisfied my thirst, may the word of God, the Bread of Heaven, nourish you. I realized as I finished my tea that my breakfast wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. My body still received the comfort of warm food. I was still filled. I still received the same nourishment, the same nutrients, antioxidants, fiber, etc. I normally would have, but without the added sugar, which defiles healthy living more often than we know. Likewise, may you find enjoyment in being challenged, strengthened, nourished and filled by the Word of God, the Bread of Heaven. May you find simple, humble appreciation of the word of God, without having the added sweetness that caters to the flesh. Press in knowing that the secret things of God are sweeter than any artificial, earthly thing. God bless!