Health food advocates often remind us: “You are what you eat.” They mean that you will be healthy if you eat healthy food, and you will be unhealthy if you eat unhealthy food. I know that isn’t totally true, but I’m sure there is some common sense behind it.
Most of us know that we should eat better than we do, but we find it really hard to eat some foods we’ve been told are good for us. We just don’t have an appetite for them. For many of us, kale is a good example. The experts say it is very healthy, but I’m not a big fan. I found a hilarious article that illustrates these feelings. It comes from a satirical website called BabylonBee.com: CDC Warns Consumers That Kale Is Still Disgusting.
On some level, I’m sure that many of you feel this way about the Bible. You assume that it is good for you, but reading it is difficult. If you were being brutally honest, as hard as you try, you would have to say that you just don’t have an appetite for it. There are lots of other things you would rather do than read the Bible. You wish you could say with the psalmist, “How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:103). You can’t truthfully say that, though.
Forcing yourself to read the Bible may feel like eating a lot of bad-tasting kale. It may be good for you, but it still doesn’t taste good.
How can you get an appetite for the Bible, so that reading it and getting to know it better will be a joy and not a drudgery? The only real answer is to have a miraculous appetite transplant. Believe it or not, that is exactly what God offers to those who come to Him.
Here is a story from the Bible that shows how you can get an appetite for God. A very strict religious leader came to Jesus one night (see John 3:1-21). He had seen the miracles that Jesus performed and had become convinced that Jesus was a teacher sent from God. He was probably hoping that Jesus could explain why he felt that something was missing in his religious life. The man was doing a lot of good religious things (cramming down a lot of kale?), but he didn’t feel like it was really satisfying. It is one thing to grit your teeth and do what you think is right, but it is quite another thing to have a craving to do what is right.
Jesus didn’t tell that religious leader that he needed to work harder at being good. He didn’t even tell him to change his religious routines. Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). In other words, what that man needed was a complete overhaul of his natural appetite—he needed a spiritual birth. All of us, including the very religious, come into this world with appetites that are dulled toward God’s nature (see Romans 3:9-12). We all need to be born again.
Don’t despair. When we turn from our sin and put our trust in Christ, God gives us a supernatural transformation so that we will begin loving the Bible. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
That’s not all! This newness that God gives also comes with a new excitement. “O taste and see that the Lord is good; how blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!” (Psalm 34:8). “Blessed [happy] are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Matthew 5:6).
When a person becomes a Christian, the sinful things once craved lose their appeal. Those biblical things once resisted now become very attractive.
Satisfied, one of my favorite songs was written by Clara T. Williams (1858–1937). It beautifully illustrates the change that God can make.
All my life long I had panted
For a drink from some cool spring
That I hoped would quench the burning
Of the thirst, I felt within.
Feeding on the husks around me
Till my strength was almost gone,
Longed my soul for something better,
Only still to hunger on.
Poor I was, and sought for riches,
Something that would satisfy;
But the dust I gathered round me
Only mocked my soul’s sad cry.
Well of water, ever springing,
Bread of life, so rich and free.
Untold wealth that never fails,
My Redeemer is to me.
Hallelujah! I have found Him
Whom my soul so long has craved!
Jesus satisfies my longings;
Through His blood, I now am saved.
I hope you will, or have, found Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord. He has the power to change your desires.