Lysa TerKeurst used an illustration of a pineapple and how much she loves the flavor of fresh pineapple over the canned version. Although she loved this sweet juicy goodness dearly, when she walked by fresh pineapple in the produce section, she was intimidated by the exterior of it. She had no idea how to get inside it, no idea how to open it up herself, so she always had to settle for the canned version. The canned version was good, it was still pineapple, but the fresh version was what she really craved.
That was a very practical illustration we can apply spiritually. The sweetest, most satisfying feast on God's word is the one we have opened for ourselves. The canned version is still pineapple, but someone else opened it for us. Our pastor can only serve us canned pineapple. Our Sunday School teacher can only serve us canned pineapple, Christian authors can only serve us canned pineapple. Please don't misunderstand me here, God can and does use these avenues in powerful ways. They are all very vital to our spiritual growth and there is so much to learn from each of these examples, but they were fresh to the person who opened that particular pineapple. They are only able to offer to us what is leftover, the canned version.
One day a friend showed Lysa how to cut into that intimidating fruit so that she could serve up fresh pineapple for herself anytime she craved it and she's been buying fresh pineapple ever since. Our Bibles often intimidate us like the pineapple did Lysa, but there is sweetness inside of those pages that no other flavor in this world can match.
And when we learn to open it up, we become self-feeders. Can I chase a rabbit here for just a second? Many of you reading don't attend church with me, we are spread out everywhere, but I want you to know, your pastor is so encouraged by having self-feeders in his flock. Ministry has some very discouraging days, but when someone in ministry bumps into someone who is a self-feeder, it recharges them like you wouldn't believe. It reminds them that their labor is not in vain and that someone out there "gets it" and is in the fight with them, not just watching them from the sidelines.
Let's answer a couple of questions about spending time in His fresh fruit and becoming a self-feeder.
Live It Out Question:
Why is it important to spend time with God?
Why is it so important to spend time with Jesus every day? Because He will give us the exact instruction and comfort we need to handle all He sees coming our way - how to act and, even more challenging, how to react in every situation. It is the perfect measure of His peace, packaged up just for us. With great expectation, we can stick it in our pocket and carry it with us. Instead of being slaves to our emotions and reacting based on our feelings, we can remain victoriously peaceful no matter what.
I can't describe to you the power made available to us when we seek Him and His truth for our day to day situations. She shares on page 64:
Oh, how we underestimate the power made available to us when we spend time with God. Our earthly eyes are so limited because they don't allow us to see what is happening in the heavenly realm. A daily battle is being fought for our attention and our devotion. Satan would love nothing more than to keep us separated form the power God gives us during our time with Him. It's time to stop feeling guilty and ill-equipped and start embracing the incredible privilege to meet with Jesus every day.
Remember, devotions don't have to be perfect to be powerful and effective, Jesus just wants a willing soul to come to Him - to verbalize her desire to seek Him and acknowledge her need for Him. Then He'll show you haw to make your devotions exactly what you need.
Live It Out Application:
So, how can we peel this pineapple ourselves?
2- Look at the surrounding context of the passage.
3- Read the passage phrase by phrase.
I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.
*Read the passage phrase by phrase - This is huge. In the past, I approached the Bible by "how much" I read, but it's not really about how much. It's about understanding what we read. So, it's ok to slow down and digest a verse for what it means. For example, there is a 2 word phrase in first line of the Ephesians verse above that gives us "the why" or a reason. There was a reason Paul was praying this for the people in Ephesus. It's "so that". So that they may know Him better. Little phrases like "so that", words like "therefore", etc are great clues to watch out for in verses. Another thing to pay attention to is common words that we know and use every day, but don't really stop to think about what they mean. Here's an example - In Matthew 14:27, Jesus tells us to "Take courage." We know what "take" means, but because it's so common, we don't think about what it means. If we take something, we have to reach out and grab it. The courage is there, we need to reach out and get it. See how thinking about what an ordinary word means can transform our understanding of a simple phrase?
Remember, friends, fresh is best. Don't settle for the canned version!
Live it Out Questions:
Do you routinely spend time with Him? Is it a specific time of day? In a specific place?
Do you have any tips you can share with us?
Is there a specific verse you have studied that you've been able to use and live it out?