Monday, October 29, 2001
When your life moves as fast as mine does, your food has to often move pretty fast too - as in drive through orders at fast food restaurants. Now, the one closest to us is a Burger King. This is not an endorsement, it just happens to be close to us. I, needless to say, know their menu pretty well after all these years and my order is pretty predictable, including my drink, which is usually an iced tea. Frankly, I'm not a real tea drinker, but, this tea is pretty good because it is pre-sweetened. To me, tea without sweetener tastes just a little bitter - just a little bland. So, being a fast food frequent flyer, I expect all Burger Kings to do it my way. The way my Burger King does it! Well, they don't. In other parts of the country I've gotten my iced tea, taken my first drink and discovered an unpleasant difference. They gave it to me unsweetened! And it isn't nearly as good that way.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A WORD WITH YOU today about "People Sweetener".
Now 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 am sometimes more bitter to the taste, or maybe just bland when I haven't had my sweetener. Now, here are those 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. You see, 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 and so on. For some, that's a part of a list of spiritual duties and it's one that is often neglected, frankly. Will all of those who have difficulty maintaining a consistent Bible reading time, would you please raise your hand right now? Okay, oh - hands are going up all over the place! Well, there are plenty of us! This has got to be something more than an entry on your list of Christian chores.
I'll tell you, one of the things that keeps me going back to God's Word is what happens when I'm away from it for very long. I miss the sweetener! You see, we all have this dark side - the sinful, selfish side of us. Maybe it surfaces in a short temper, or a sarcastic attitude, or words that wound people, complaining, worrying, self-centeredness, maybe lying or lust. But time with the Lord in 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 there with God's Word in my lap and as I let it get into my heart, the Lord seems to tame and restrain the ugly part of me. But when I miss meaningful time with Him for very long, the 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 care about when I do.
It's that daily time in God's presence, soaking up God's Words that renews your perspective and restrains your dark side and lifts the load that has you all bent over, and energizes you with the joy of your Jesus relationship. Without that, well, 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 your Savior's perspective.
Remember, His Words are sweeter than honey and you won't be sweet for long without them!