One of the hottest topics of conversation in the sports and fitness realm is what to eat for optimal success. Nearly everyone understands that what we eat has a significant impact on how feel, how we perform in our sport, or how we accomplish our fitness goals. It’s pretty clear that one gets more nutritional bang for a buck with fresh veggies and fruit than candy bars and Cheetos, but the former is not nearly as appealing as the latter for most of us. To make food work for me, I’ve learned over the years to change my taste preferences. Little by little, sweets and processed snacks have become far less tempting to me and I find them much easier to resist today than I did before. The key was choosing to develop new eating habits.
This same scenario takes place in our walks as Christians. What we take in has a powerful impact on our spiritual strength. It is incredibly easy, now, to take in content that is destructive. It’s difficult to think of the music we listen to, the TV shows, movies and on-line videos that we watch as destructive when they sound good, make us laugh, or are just plain entertaining. We are drawn to these things even when they have no edifying value. It sounds far less appealing to take 30 minutes out of our day to read the bible.
Yet, that’s probably the best thing we can do for ourselves. In today’s Scripture, Jesus is talking to the devil who is trying to tempt him. Jesus gives the perfect example of the perfect response – His Word. If you take a look at how Jesus answered the devil, you will see that much of his response came from the books of Deuteronomy and Psalms. When we spend time reading the bible we have the perfect line of defense against temptations, we gain a better understanding of God and how much He loves us, and we gain superb insight on how to handle life’s difficult situations.
The bible is incredibly encouraging. Just take a look back on previous Run for Your Life devotionals, and you will find all kinds of encouragement. Knowing the Scriptures gives you ample ammunition for combatting sadness, loneliness, bitterness, anger and discouragement. Hebrews 4:12 tells us that the Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, but it doesn’t work quite as well when we leave it on the shelf.
Where to start? One of my favorite ways to read the bible is with the help of a bible study. Some focus on a specific book of the bible, while others focus on a topic. If you want to just open up your bible and start reading, many people recommend starting with the Gospel according to John in the New Testament. This book shows us the amazing love and grace of God and what it means to be a follower of Jesus. I love the Old Testament, because the stories are absolutely fascinating and it reminds me of how full of grace and mercy God is – even when we completely mess up. The book of Genesis really is a great place to start – after all, it is the first book of the bible.
I hope you feel inspired to take your bible off the shelf and put it to some great use. Don’t be surprised if you find that you have gained some new strength in your walk as a Christian.