Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Junk Food {Craving things that make us sick}

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, 
who is to judge the living and the dead, 
and by his appearing and his kingdom: 
preach the word; 
be ready in season and out of season; 
reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 
For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, 
but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 
and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 
(2 Timothy 4:1-4 ESV)

When our Ethiopian daughter first came home at three years old we took her to a pediatrician who specialized in treating children adopted from foreign countries.  The doctor did a thorough exam, drawing (lots of) blood and setting a schedule to catch her up on immunizations.  She asked me how she was eating and I told her it was hit or miss.  Everything was so new to her that, unless I could tell her the Amharic name for it, she wouldn't touch it.  We ate lots of beans, rice, and chicken in those early days.  (I didn't know that much Amharic!)

"Well, don't give her junk to get her to eat," the doctor advised.  She said this because she knew the temptation, when you have a child who was once starving, to keep their bellies full...to make them happy so they will trust you and believe they will never go hungry again.  But her advice was so right and good.  Our girl struggled with food issues, fixating on pizza and frozen waffles, and we had to refuse junk food to a hungry child who had refused to eat her healthy lunch.  It was a major battle of wills and boy, was it ever a tough battle.

Fast forward three years.  Though she still has food fixations (right now it is grilled cheese sandwiches) she readily eats a wide variety of foods.  Her diet is much more balanced and she is healthy.

Read the passage at the top again.

How often are we just brain-weary?  There is so much to digest, so much of the Word of God that requires painstaking study to understand that we just want to stick to the happy parts.  It is easy to be tempted to stick to the "lighter fare"  such as the verses that remind us:   Jesus loves you and God has good plans for you.  

We CRAVE easy when life is hard.

But God has so much more than "happy clappy faith" for us.  He is deep waters, full of mystery and beauty that will only be revealed to those who seek him with all of their heart.  

Why settle for frozen waffles when there is a banquet prepared?  Why fill our stomachs with empty calories that give us a temporary sugar high when our Lord promises to set our feet upon the Rock?

This means we have to prioritize.  It means intentionally studying the Word and diving deep into the hard parts.  It may also mean turning off the computer or smart phone in order to take back the time we are wasting.  (Ouch.)  It means putting first things first and seeking the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. The result will be worth it, though, because we have no idea what tomorrow holds.

My daughter who orders grilled cheese sandwiches or pizza every. time. we. eat. out...well, we got some blood work back yesterday.  It turns out she is allergic to wheat, dairy, and eggs.  The very things she craved were making her sick.  But because we have intentionally given her good food, not letting her limit her palate, she has learned that fruit, vegetables, and meats can taste good.  She realizes that though there are many things she now cannot eat, there are many things she can.

Our appetite for the meat of God's word will only grow if we feed it.  If we limit ourselves to spiritual junk food then we will grow spiritually anemic.  Our souls will eventually reject the sweet poison we continually pour into them and we will go into crisis mode...where we have to acknowledge our need and change our habits if we want to be healthy.

I have a feeling, if you are reading this, that you want to be spiritually healthy.  I figure there are a lot of us who have reached the point in life where we see the world spinning out of control and we want calm.  We want to know there is a place of peace and rest where truth is true and right and wrong are crystal clear.   We are willing to admit failure and throw away the habits and time-wasters that just aren't working and turn to what will fill our hungry souls.

We want pastors in our churches that will give us a swift kick when needed, calling sin for what it is and not letting us excuse ourselves any longer.  (I have one of those...I hope you do, too.  If not, find one.)

We want prayer to be more than a laundry list of wants or the cry of a desperate woman.  We want daily communion with our Father, life and strength flowing into us directly from His hand.  We want to hear His voice, feel the movements of the Spirit working within us, pray in faith and know we are taking part in a cosmic battle that is unseen yet so very real.

We want to read our Bibles and actually get something out of it.  Enough of the fluffy girl Bible studies! We want to go deep, use the brains God gave us and actually study His Word, not just "read" it.  (And not just the parts we like.)

And we want to be light in the darkness because the darkness is closing in.  Spiritual junk food makes us weak and susceptible to believing the lies of the Enemy.  If we do not know and understand the truth, then we have no sword with which to fight.  (See Matthew 4 and Ephesians 6:10-18)  We are like a malnourished child who is alive but frail.  Their growth is stunted and they easily become very sick.  We cannot stand against the enemy when our spiritual immune system is compromised.  But if we are strong in the Spirit, standing on Truth, then our light will surely shine!  We have been placed right here for such a time as this and whether we are folding laundry or sitting in a business meeting we can be used by God to light this world!

Oh, sisters, I pray there are many of us who will drop the waste and fluff and dive deep.  Let's do this, and let's hold one another accountable to keep at it.  Don't give in to the temptation to fill up on junk.  Don't think doing good things for God is enough to fulfill you.  It is not.  It never has been and never will be.  Let's sit at the feet of Jesus and serve Him because we love Him.  Let's choose the excellent over the good and let Him fill us to overflowing.  We will be much more effective that way, much braver and stronger in His strength instead of our own.  Our acts of service will draw others to Him when they are the natural result of a thriving relationship with Him.  We will be less hesitant with our words when He is the one speaking them.  And we will be less easily shaken when our feet are standing solid upon the Rock.

Holy, Bible, pen, front porch, coffee, God, Jesus, quiet time, prayer
With coffee, of course :)




4 comments:

  1. My favorite part is, "We cannot stand against the enemy when our spiritual immune system is compromised."

    So very true. I do not have time for watered down Bible studies. Give me some meat I can chew on!

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  2. Thanks, Chris! And amen to that, sister!

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  3. My first visit to your blog and I what a great post! I think my fav was enough with the "Enough of the fluffy girl Bible studies" Yes! I agree. There is a lot of that out there. Such goods thoughts. You gave me a lot to "chew" on... ha ha ha :

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