Posts Tagged ‘growth’

I grew up in “meat and potato” country.  For a proper meal you need both meat and potatoes.  It’s real substance.  It needs chewed, swallowed and it offers the body nutrients.  In recent years, I’ve also taken to making a quick smoothie for breakfast.  They’re fast, sweet, easy and (if you do it right) can also offer some nutrients.

But – despite what some diet plans may advertise – you simply can’t live off of smoothies only.  Or processed foods only.  Or fast foods only.  Or even instant foods only.  At least not to be your healthiest and not for an extended period of time.

But still we try.  We go out for cheap food that someone else has prepared for us.  (Or even expensive food that someone else has prepared for us.)  We buy processed or partially processed and instant foods because they’re fast and easy and there is always enough fat, sugar or salt in them to make them tasty for us.  We fill our lives with so much stuff and so much busyness that we seek food that requires the least preparation, the least work and, along with that, the least amount of digestion.

Take oats for example.  Did you know that steel cut oats are better for you than rolled because they require your body to work harder to digest them?  And rolled oats are better than the instant ones which are partially broken down already so that they simply just “slide” through your system?

We do the same in our spiritual lives as well.  There’s this cartoon in a book I have at work that shows a book sale with a sign that says something like “Everything you need to know about the Bible.”  Of course, there are lots of people at the sale table buying up this book.  Then there are two people walking past and one exclaims to the other, “What some people will do to avoid reading the actual Bible!”

When I taught a class called “Greek to Me: Understanding the Bible without going to Seminary,” I used food and digestion as an analogy for levels of Bible reading and study.  Simply reading the Bible is like consuming soft solids.  Whereas studying the Bible is like eating regular solids, meditating is like getting to steak and other things that need well-chewed and take longer to digest and memorization is sort of like your body applying the nutrients so that the food becomes part of your body.

And really, we should have a little of each on our plates.

But too often, we settle for smoothies and instant oatmeal.  We let someone else process God’s Word and feed us smooth and easy morsels that are often very palatable.  Sweet to the taste.  Go down easy.  Done in 5 or 10 or “15 minutes with God.”

Don’t get me wrong here.  I think that devotional books and other “Christian living” and “Bible-explaining” books can be good and have their place.  I’ve thought of writing a few myself.  Not to mention that this blog is often made up of my “processed” thoughts on what God is showing me in the Bible and in the world around me.  (Although, honestly, my goal is to not only encourage you by my sharing God’s truth, but also to incite you to begin to read, search and keep your eyes open for it around you as well!)

And God was the one who gave some to be prophets… pastors… teachers… so that we could be built up and helped along in our learning and growth as Christians! (See Ephesians 4:11-13)

But if you only ever listen to sermons.  If you only ever read those little devotional pamphlets that may or may not include actual scripture.  If you only ever read books about what the Bible says.  If you only ever listen or read what others have processed and never read the Bible for yourself, then you will not be as healthy nor strong nor grow as you should.  And certainly not for the long term!

So read your Bible.  Not just what others say about it.  Read it, study it, meditate on it and memorize it.  Fill your plate with a variety of healthy foods that require different amounts of preparation and digestion.  And let those smoothies and instant foods be only secondary.  Otherwise, how will you know if they even contain the truth?

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