Am I filling myself with the things of God or is something else taking that space?
I am a preschool teacher. As a preschool teacher, there are many tricks of the trade which help my day go smoother with happier, healthier children.
Many of those tricks involve snack time. Using a straw for yogurt drinks cuts down on the number of catastrophic spills. Cutting grapes eliminates a choking hazard. Sending only healthy snack options results in the child choosing to eat a healthy snack rather than choosing a sugary, unhealthy option.
One classic snack item, which has its own host of tricks, is the juice box. Many of those tricks involve how to open or hold it without spilling. Not spilling a juice box is indeed a skill for preschoolers to learn!
Beyond that, a useful trick for getting some preschoolers to eat more of their snack is to not give them a juice box at all. Let me explain.
Over my years of teaching preschool, I have seen three significantly different patterns of behaviour in children who have juice boxes with their snack.
First, many children will only drink one or two sips from the juice box before setting it aside. This leaves the vast majority of the juice wasted.
Second, some children are able to coordinate drinking their juice with eating their snack. They will drink most of the juice and eat a good portion of their snack before snack time is over.
Finally, I’ve seen a number of children who, upon seeing the juice box in their snack, get excited. They drink and drink and drink until every last drop of the juice is gone. Then, having drunk the whole juice box, they look at the rest of their snack, perhaps apple slices or bread and cheese, but aren’t the least bit interested because they already feel full.
These children drink so much juice, often artificially flavoured with added sugar and colour, that they are not eating the sturdy healthy food they need to grow strong. From these children, we can learn a lesson.
The other day, I was reading in Isaiah 2 the explanation of why God rejected His people at that time:
“They are full of things from the east and of fortune-tellers …
Their land is filled with silver and gold, and there is no end to their treasures;
their land is filled with horses, and there is no end to their chariots.
Their land is filled with idols; they bow down to the work of their hands,
to what their own fingers have made.” Isaiah 2:6b-8 ESV
After reading these verses, I paused. I asked, “What am I full of?”
Am I filled with the things of God, or something else?
This question brought to mind another verse:
“[God is] always on their lips but far from their hearts.” Jeremiah 12:2b NIV
Instead of “heart,” some other translations say “mind” or “conscience.”
Regardless of how much I talk about Jesus and know all the right answers, what is taking up the space inside me? Is Jesus in my thoughts? When my mind wanders, does it wander to the things of God?
Far more often than I’d like, my thoughts wander some other direction.
Is it bad to think about other things? Certainly not! There are many good things in life that require much thought. The problem comes when those other things are filling me, leaving no room for thoughts of Jesus, just like my preschoolers who drink so much juice that they aren’t the least bit interested in solid healthy food.
In 1 Peter 2:2(NIV), Peter urges:
“Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation…”
Other translations say “desire the pure milk of the Word.”
Am I desiring the things of God? Am I seeking to be filled with Him?
While there aren’t any shortcuts to being filled with the things of God, spending time in the Bible, in prayer, with other Christians, and in worship are critical.
So for today, I’ll make it my goal to drink just a little less juice and a little more of that pure spiritual milk.