Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you didn’t surprise yourself? You know, those moments when something comes out of your mouth that catches even you off guard? Let’s face it; we don’t have as great of control over ourselves as we might think. Especially when we’re stressed, squeezed, or under pressure, what comes out of our mouths can be embarrassing—not at all what you’d expect from a person who loves Jesus and wants to grow in a relationship with him.
I’ve heard people described as toothpaste tubes. When you squeeze a toothpaste tube, what comes out? Toothpaste. Because that’s what the tube is filled up with. What comes out of us when we’re squeezed? Whatever we’ve filled up on.
So what are you filling up on? Whatever you’re taking in is going to shape your character; influence the way you think; and, ultimately, be what comes out of you when life’s stresses press in.
Jesus warned that bad things come out of the human heart (Matthew 15:19). But there’s a way to avoid that. And it comes from filling up on something better. The Bible says, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts. . . . Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly” (Colossians 3:15,16). In another place, it says, “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8). The first verses of the book of Psalms say, “Blessed is the one . . . whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night” (1:1,2).
How can you fill up on something better? Make God’s message your steady spiritual diet. Like eating balanced meals, you can fill up on the Word of God each day and throughout the day. Here are some suggestions for filling up on the goodness, the peace, and the blessedness of the Bible on an ongoing basis:
- Weekly worship. Do you have a church home? If you don’t, look for a place that stays true to the Bible and will help you fill up on God’s message for you. This weekly routine is a beautiful way to feast with other followers of Jesus on the good news of God’s love and his good direction for our lives.
- Bible reading plan. The Bible was meant to be a book for everyone. You don’t need someone else to be part of the equation in order to experience God communicating to you in his Word. Jesus made it so you can connect with God directly. He’s speaking to you in the Bible. If it’s difficult for you to get into the Bible and catch the full story, try some of the many Bible reading plans out there. BibleGateway and the YouVersion Bible app have lots of plans to get you into the Bible, including devotions from Time of Grace.
- Bible-inspired music. Music has a way of working its way into our brains and hearts. Listen to the beautiful lyrics and melodies that were inspired by the Bible itself. You’ll fill up on lots of great content set to music, which makes it stick even more.
- Memorize Bible passages. This isn’t just for kids in Sunday school. Part of meditating on God’s Word day and night is getting it internalized by memorizing its magnificent truths. Sometimes my heart can’t feel what’s true, and my head needs to remind me. Sometimes my head can’t remember what’s true, and my heart needs to remind me. Start with passages you love; commit them to memory. That’s time well spent!
- Limit the bad stuff. Seriously, this might be the hardest one. What sort of stuff are you filling up on that’s just not good for your soul? From your time watching shows on Netflix, to some of the videos on social media, to the people you hang out with, is there stuff you’re taking in that’s unwholesome or downright raunchy? It’s not just about filling up on the good; it’s imperative that you limit the bad stuff you fill up on too.
Which of these do you think you need to work on the most? Get a start on it today. Let your spiritual diet be a balanced, nutritious, energy-filled diet of the good news of Jesus and the guidance of God. When you’re squeezed, what comes out of you might just surprise you—in a good way! You’ll be filled with grace. You’ll be patient and loving. You’ll be more like the person God made you to be.
His Word is working on you. Fill up on it. It’s good stuff!