The Swallow Test

“As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down from heaven--not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever."

John 6:57-58  

In preparing for an upcoming physical in August I have been attempting to eat more healthy so when I found myself starting to eat something the other day that I had vowed not to eat I made a conscious decision to spit out what I had started to enjoy as opposed to indulging myself and just saying, “I’ll eat this now and start doing right tomorrow.” I felt good in that though the food I had vowed not to eat had touched my lips by way of habit, I did not suffer the consequences of the ingredients and calories it contained as I immediately spit it out. I thought to myself, "I bet for many people sadly this is a way of life."  They allow themselves the pleasure of tasting their favorite foods but they spit it out without receiving any benefit or in some cases the consequences that come by way of the amount of calories the food contains.

I think we all get it. When it comes to eating, there is a huge difference between chewing something and swallowing it. Taking that thought and applying it to feeding on the Word of God is pretty simple. First, in John 6 when Jesus said, “if you don’t eat My body and drink My blood you have nothing to do with Me” He was using the concept of consumption to teach a very important spiritual truth. In the book of James the half brother makes the same point another way when he says to be a hearer of the word but not a doer of the word is false religion. In both instances it would be like chewing and not swallowing your food. You might enjoy the taste of it but you would not receive the nutrient value from it.

When the Bible talks about faith coming by hearing it isn’t speaking of us hearing audibly but rather listening intently, with intension. In other words, unless we act upon what the Bible teaches can we say we are listening or that we really believe what it is saying? Think about it like this. What if someone stood in line at at "In and Out Burger" and ordered lunch and paid for it, then waited for what seems like forever for the food to be prepared and then as you watched they took a bite and chewed the food and never swallowed what they were eating but instead just spit it out. We wouldn’t call that eating, we might however associate their actions with an eating disorder. Interestingly, in what is considered the “Bible” of the American Psychiatric Association, the “Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” lists “chewing and spitting” as a mental disorder.

Just like tasting food and chewing food without swallowing is considered a mental illness, reading God’s Word, going to church, singing songs all might leave a good taste in our mouths, but if we don’t “swallow” spiritually speaking, we are in danger of practicing false religion that the Bible says is worthless. If we don’t act upon the Word of God and what God is instructing us to do God Himself says our religion is useless as there is no spiritual nutritional value.  James 1:22 says its not only useless but He says there is something more dangerous occurring when he writes, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” The same way a person who only tastes foods but doesn’t swallow is deceived, so is the man or woman who hears the Word of God but fails to ingest it, to act upon it in obedience. Don't fall short today loved one! Pass the swallow test, feed on God’s Word remembering as you chew...

“But He answered and said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”

Matthew 4:4


Michael Osthimer





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