Faith feeds on the word of God. Without a steady diet it gets weaker and weaker. If you are dissatisfied with your Christian courage and joy and purity of heart, check the way you are feeding your faith.
Compare the way you eat. Suppose that you start the day with a glass of orange juice. It’s good, and good for you. It takes you maybe five minutes to drink it, if you read the newspaper at the same time. Then you go off to work or school. You don’t eat anything else until the next morning. And you have another glass of juice. And so you go on drinking one glass of juice a day until you drop.
That’s the way a lot of Christians try to survive as believers. They feed their faith with five minutes of food in the morning, or evening, and then don’t eat again until 24 hours later. Some even skip one or two mornings and don’t give their faith anything to eat for days.
Now the effect of starving your faith is that faith starves. Not hard to understand. And when faith is starving, it is weak and not able to do much. It has a hard time trusting God and worshipping and rejoicing and resisting sin. It is gasping and stumbling.
But someone may say, “How do you know faith needs the food of the word to thrive and grow?” Well, there are some biblical clues.
First, Romans 10:17 says, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ.” If faith comes by the word, it goes by the absence of the word.
Second, Psalm 78:5-7 says that God “appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should teach them to their children…that they should put their confidence in God.” In other words, the aim of teaching the word of God to our children is to foster confidence (that is, faith) in God. Thus faith feeds on the word of God.
Third, Proverbs 22:18-19 says, “It will be pleasant if you keep [the words of God] within you, that they may be ready on your lips. So that your trust may be in the Lord, I have taught you today, even you.” This shows that the words of God are “so that you may trust in God.” Faith feeds on the word of God.
Fourth, compare Psalm 1:2-3 and Jeremiah 17:7-8. One says that the one who meditates on the word of God is like a tree that remains strong; and the other says that the man who trusts in the Lord is like a tree that remains strong. Which is it? It’s both. Why? Because the person who meditates on the word of God day and night feeds his faith day and night, so that his trust is strong.
Fifth, it simply stands to reason that faith feeds on the word because the word is what faith trusts. And where trustworthy words are not present, faith has nothing to bite into. That’s the nature of faith. It exists by what it trusts. It has no life but what it gets from the truth it believes. So if we do not feed it with a substantial diet of life-giving truth, it will shrivel.
All this means that we should memorize Scripture day by day so that we can feed our faith hourly throughout the day. Only a few people have the luxury of being able to open a Bible every hour or so. But all of us can consult our memory every hour. In fact we need to.
So, with all my heart, I encourage you to do this. When you have devotions in God’s word, find a phrase or a verse and memorize it. This is like putting faith-food in the pantry of your mind. Then throughout the day you reach in and take a bite from that morsel. It may be as simple as, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” Take that out and chew on it hourly. The nutrition will feed your faith and your faith will grow strong and you will pray for fruit and it will come.
Learning with you how the word abides in us,