Monday, May 25, 2015
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When your life moves as fast as mine does, your food has to often move pretty fast too. As in those drive-thru orders at fast food restaurants. Now, I know the menu pretty well, and this particular day my order was pretty predictable, including my drink, which was usually an iced tea.
I'm not a regular tea drinker, but the tea was pretty good at this one place because it was pre-sweetened. To me, tea without sweetener tastes just a little bitter, a little bland. So, being a fast food frequent flier, I would always search for this particular fast food chain to get my tea the way I liked it. In other parts of the country I've discovered an unpleasant difference when I take that first drink, because they give it to me unsweetened. I'm telling you, it isn't nearly as good that way.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "How to Sweeten Your Dark Side."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Psalm 119:103-104. By the way, actually, I am a lot like iced tea. I am more enjoyable when I've had my sweetener added. Conversely, I'm sometimes more bitter to the taste, maybe bland when I haven't had my sweetener.
Okay, here are the verses, "How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! I gain understanding from Your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path." Well, David's talking here about the sweetening effect of God's Word and how it turns him away from the bitter stuff.
It's God's Word that neutralizes the bitter taste of our sinful, selfish side. Verse 11 in this same Psalm says, "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you." Now, if you've been around the Jesus life very long, you've heard plenty about the importance of daily Bible reading, devotions, quiet time. For some, that's just a part of a check list of spiritual "dos". And it's one that is often neglected.
If you have difficulty maintaining a consistent Bible reading time, would you raise your hand right now? Okay, hands going up all over the place. There are plenty of us. This has got to be something more than an entry on your list of Christian chores. One of the things that keeps me going back to God's Word is what happens when I don't; when I'm away from it for very long. Honestly, I miss the sweetness. We all have our dark side; sinful, selfish, angry, dirty, bitter, resentful, jealous. Maybe it's a short temper, sarcastic attitude, or words that wound people, complaining, worrying, self-centeredness, lying, or lust.
The time that you spend with the Lord and His Word serves as a restraining force for that dark side of us, "That I might not sin against You." Each morning as I sit with God's Word in my lap, and as I let it look into my heart, (I don't just read it; it reads me.) the Lord seems to tame and restrain the ugly part of me. But when I miss time with Him for very long, I'll tell you, my dark side starts to surface more and more. So frankly, I can't afford to miss my time with the Lord. It hurts me and it hurts those I love.
It's the time in God's presence, soaking up God's Word - God's perspective - that renews your perspective, that restrains your dark side, that lifts the load that has you all bent over, and it energizes you with the joy of your Jesus' relationship. Without that, you're unsweetened tea. And I guess each new day is a new cup of tea.
Whether or not you leave a bitter or sweet taste in people's lives depends on whether or not you've been sweetened by being around your Savior; by absorbing His perspective - seeing things and people and situations through His eyes. Remember, His words are sweeter than honey, and you won't be sweet for long without them.