I trust you plan to eat next year. You probably don’t have all 1,095 meals planned out or anything like that, but I doubt many of us will go a day without eating unless we’re intentionally fasting (which I recommend!). You probably have a pretty good idea of where you’ll get your food and when / how you’ll go get it. Thank God it’s not all that complicated for most of us. But it’s no doubt one of the most important things we’ll do in 2024.
If we take God at His Word, we must agree that there’s another kind of eating that will prove to be of utmost importance next year. “Man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD” (Deuteronomy 8:3). In a way that only God fully understands, the body’s relationship to food is legitimately comparable to our soul’s relationship to God’s Word. What might the LORD be trying to teach us by giving us bodies that require food on a daily basis?
Do you have a plan for nourishing your soul in 2024? Let’s not overcomplicate this, either. But let’s not assume that a good soul-feast will come about quite as instinctively as we tend to stuff our faces. Some planning will very likely prove useful.
I don’t always utilize a formal Bible reading plan, but this year I plan to again. Thankfully, we’ve got all kinds of accessible options if you’re interested in going this route. The ESV Bible app—as one example—has a whole bunch of options you might want to check out. I plan to utilize the Five Day Bible Reading Plan to guide me through the Bible in a year (you can google it). There’s no one right plan, but I strongly encourage you to go into the year with some sort of plan for feasting regularly on God’s Word.
As you read (or listen), try not to be in a rush. Our bodies seem to be decent at digesting food on the go, but I find my soul does better when I slow down. Remember, engaging with God’s Word is engaging with a Person, and He intends to speak to you personally. And He invites us to pour our hearts out before Him (Psalm 62:8, but read the whole Psalm while you’re at it!). I often write out my prayers in an effort to slow down and focus my mind and heart. We are probably all in danger of living overly hurried lives. Hurrying through engaging our hearts with God would be the greatest loss. We have a God who astonished the likes of Isaiah with His response to our un-hurriedness: From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides You, who acts for those who wait for Him (Isaiah 64:4). Read that again! The healthiest, steadiest souls on this planet belong to those who have learned to listen to and wait on the Lord. You can be one of them.
My son told me this morning that he felt unusually weak and tired after a workout yesterday. He figured that he hadn’t taken in enough calories before or after exertion—probably a pretty good explanation. I wonder how much of our non-physical weakness and weariness can be traced back to a similar deficiency in our souls. Let’s commit as a church family to feast heartily on God’s Word in 2024—when we’re together and when we’re alone! It’s no doubt one of the most important things we’ll do in 2024.