When you travel are you the type of person who loves or hates trying foreign food? Have you come back from a trip and added something new to your diet as a result of your visit? Are you a person who’s dabbled into different diets – the South Beach Diet, the Atkins Diet, the Low Carb Diet, the Cabbage Soup Diet? Or do you just eat the same foods you’ve grown up with your whole life? How do you know which diet is best for you?
What kind of diet is your church providing you? I’m not talking about physical food but spiritual food. Every church has their own spiritual diet. Some are on a simple “meat and three veg” diet – they sing three fast songs followed by three slow songs before announcements and a thirty minute sermon on the next chapter in the Bible series that they started twenty or thirty years ago. You go there and you know exactly what you’re going to be served.
Other churches offer African cuisine with long loud sermons with frequent shouts of “Amen!” and “Hallelujah!” from the congregation and random bursts of song. The sermons usually have a balance of life’s hardships like potatoes topped with a rich gravy of God’s goodness despite the hardships.
Another church may have a variety of chefs that bring their own flavour to a sermon, some are a little heavy-handed with the milk and cheese, others bring detailed meaty messages that you have to chew on for a few days to fully digest.
Still other churches weekly diet consists of desserts and candy. It is only about the good and happy parts of the Bible. Anything seems possible. It’s light, it’s fluffy and if it’s not positive it’s not mentioned. There is no talk of sin, hell and the trials of the Christian life. They seem successful because there are always new takers for dessert, but a consistent diet of only sweet things makes one sick and so people wonder away as quickly as they come.
The Apostle Paul reprimanded the Hebrews for their poor diet choices.
““For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe.” Hebrews 5:12-13
The role of pastors, apostles and the church is to equip its members for the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:11-12), not to keep them happy, obese and feeling full of sweet milk.
So how do you know if your church has you on the right diet or not? The same way you know if your mother has you on the right kind of diet. The food you eat
- is healthy for you and doesn’t make you sick
- it has a mixture of types and colours, it’s not always the same
- it helps you grow and change to become more Christ like
- the energy you give out (in ministry) is similar to the amount you take in (i.e. your not an obese Christian who only takes and doesn’t give)
- some of it you don’t like as it challenges your palate like vegetables challenge children (i.e. you are convicted of sin and righteousness)
- makes you want more
- comes straight from the “All Time Best Diet Guide” – the Bible
If you don’t think your church is providing you the best diet, don’t just up and leave. Pray and ask God what He would have you do. That may include:
- adding some healthy snacks on the side (books, dvds, blogs)
- lose weight, getting some exercise (getting involved in ministry and giving out, not just taking in)
- talking to a health professional (God, through prayer) about making dietary changes
- respectfully ask the chef (your pastor) to add something new to the menu.
A small change to your spiritual diet could save your earthly and eternal life. It could even save the lives of those around you. Take time today to reflect on your spiritual diet.
Do you agree? Have you noticed the different types of diets and preferred flavours of different churches and Christians? Share your feelings below.
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