Growing up I never ate Chinese food. Maybe because I came from a town of 600 and my only exposure to all things Chinese came from Rambo and Chuck Norris. I had always assumed it was only noodles, egg rolls, and little baby kittens. So, I think the first time I ate Chinese food was in college. But once I had my first bite of cashew chicken I was hooked. And my love for Chinese food has expanded and grown over the last 10 years. I couldn’t imagine turning down such joy.
Scripture encourages us to “taste and see that the Lord is good”. I have, and He has proven to be far more glorious than cashew chicken. With that as a background consider this from the pen of John Newton:
For how can we but be staggered, when we hear people speaking the language of assurance—that they know their acceptance with God through Christ, and have not the least doubt of their interest in all the promises—while at the same time we see them under the influence of unsanctified tempers, of a proud, passionate, worldly, selfish, or churlish behavior?
In other words, how can it be consistent that someone can claim to be in a right relationship with a holy God and yet have lives filled with unholy behavior. How can you taste and see that the Lord is good and yet turn back to living ungodly lives? Is it not unsettling that a person (myself included) would feast on steak and then chase it down with a glass of sawdust?
To this Newton speaks of the full effects of faith (You can read the whole letter, here). Faith causes us to want more and more of God. This is why Newton is able to say:
Whoever is possessed of true faith, will not confine his inquiries to the single point of his acceptance with God, or be satisfied with the distant hope of heaven hereafter. He will be likewise solicitous how he may glorify God in the world, and enjoy such foretastes of heaven as are attainable while he is yet upon earth.
Newton is saying here that once you have tasted that the Lord is good you are not satisfied with a mere taste or settling for the hope of a great banquet meal in the distant future. Just like me with my first taste of cashew chicken. I went back to Chinese restaurants and I even branched out and tried all sorts of other dishes.
You haven’t really tasted that the Lord is good if you never come back to feast…