“The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails – given by one shepherd. Be warned, my son, of anything in addition to them. Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.” (Ecclesiastes 12:12 NIV)
Every new year brings with it the inevitable spike in gym memberships and sales of diet and exercise books. Many of us are looking for the latest exercise craze or fad diet that will help us achieve that fitness goal that eluded us last year. And yet, most of us know implicitly that maintaining good health and fitness comes down to a few simple rules:
- If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health.
- Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.
- Walking is man’s best medicine.
- That which is used – develops. That which is not used wastes away.
- Everything in excess is opposed by nature.
These “health rules” are simple, clear, straightforward, and unchanged for over 2,000 years. In fact, they were first articulated just as they are presented here by Hippocrates, a Greek physician who lived several hundred years before the birth of Christ. Rather than chase the latest fad, save yourself some money this year, ingrain these few timeless principles into your heart, and discipline yourself to follow them.
The same applies to our approach to spiritual health. Walk in the door of any Christian bookstore and you will be immediately confronted with the latest bestseller by your favorite Christian author with his/her face prominently displayed on the cover promising “Your Best Life Now” or “30 Days to Spiritual Maturity”. You will likely encounter a wide assortment of devotionals offering nuggets of Biblical wisdom and spiritual insight for each day of 2017.
You will have no difficulty finding these publications. They will be prominently displayed out front. But you may need a little assistance if you’re actually looking for a Bible. They will usually be tucked off to the side somewhere out of the way. Sadly, that is too often the case in our homes as well.
Devotionals, Christian books, and religious blogs such as this one serve a useful purpose and my comments are not meant to denigrate them in any way or discourage you from reading them. (Certainly not mine!) But if they are your primary source of spiritual food, you will be woefully malnourished. If your goal is a stronger relationship with the Lord and improved spiritual fitness in 2017, there is simply no substitute for spending undistracted, quiet time in God’s Word.
If it is not already your practice, I encourage you to resolve this year to begin each day reading and prayerfully digesting the clear, straightforward, and timeless truths found in the pages of your Bible. Ingrain its teachings into your heart and apply its principles in your life. There is simply no better source for spiritual nourishment and guidance than a clear word straight from the heart of the Creator and controller of the universe.
“What we need as Christians is to be able to feed ourselves. How many there are who sit helpless and listless, with open mouths, hungry for spiritual things, and the minister has to try to feed them, while the Bible is a feast prepared, into which they never venture.” – D.L. Moody