Charlotte is a vibrant and colorful collage of religious fervor and is wonderfully decorated with a vast contrast of worship experiences. The Queen City is as rich in religious opportunities as it is in scrumptious delicacies for the palate.
And in part 3 of this series, we’ll be examining spiritual delicacies that we as Christians need to maintain a healthy spiritual diet.
We will examine this in two parts – what are you eating and in the next article, what are you being fed?
What are you eating?
To effectively grow as believers, we must be sure that our caloric intake and diet meets up to FDA (Food the Deity Accepts) standards.
The FDA (again, not the Food & Drug Administration, but the Food the Deity Accepts) has specific requirements concerning what we spiritually digest as nourishment. For example, are you eating the whole grain Word of God or only parts of it?
We cannot “pick over” our spiritual food and expect to grow in the faith. That is, we cannot pick which parts of the Bible we are going to accept and which parts we are going to throw away.
Nowadays, many Christians "add supplements" to their spiritual diets that are not only un-nourishing, but are completely unhealthy as well.
Would you intentionally ingest Cyanide if you knew it was mixed in your food or drink? Well, that's what you could be doing spiritually if you don't know what's really in some of those "spiritual help books" by some popular authors.
Don't get me wrong; I'm not against reading some extra materials to help us better understand our walk with Christ. But we must know that the source of these books is truly of and from God and not simply Satan trying to poison our meal.
To be frank, are you reading and actually studying the Bible for nourishment or just reading "supplemental" materials like books by the latest or most popular writers? Be aware that often-times, many of these so called "TV Evangelists" are nothing more than New Age Biblical enthusiasts who don't even know the Bible for themselves.
Many of them have been exposed as frauds who hire marketing companies to find Scriptures that sound like the angle they want to use to hook you in. Don't feed off of frauds and "popular" writers that only find angles to excite you into feeding on their misinformation and heresies.
In other words, don't spiritually feed yourself poison by letting other people tell you what God's Word says and means - know His Word for yourself. That's exactly why God gave you His sacred text - so that you can feed yourself and know Him for yourself.
For example, a pastor once told me that members of his Baptist church congregation could quote authors like Joyce Meyers, Benny Hinn, and T.D. Jakes much more than they could quote the Holy Bible.
Could any of these people possibly know Christ better than Peter, Paul, James, or John? Could Jakes or Joyce know more about Jesus than the holy prophets whom God showed Christ to afar off centuries before He was born?
If you don't know that you can trust these "modern day apostles and prophets", why would you feed yourself from their plates?
The One true writer that we can trust implicitly is Christ, "the Author and Finisher of our faith" (Heb. 12:2).
Now that we have an idea of what is unacceptable by God's FDA standards, let's look at what is a good spiritual food source -
Matt. 4:4 But He answered and said, It is written, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God." (Modern KJv)
Here Jesus replies to Satan’s demand that He “prove” Himself. Christ’s response not only circumvents the devil’s tactic, but also provides the most important nutrient in a Christian’s diet – the very Word of God itself.
Take notice of what Jesus does here – He reminds us that we cannot rely simply on regular food to sustain us, but we must have spiritual food as well if we desire to be nourished.
Regular food such as bread, can come from a wide variety of sources – wheat, rye, pumpernickel, and so on, just as we can have a diet comprised of meats, grains, dairy, or vegetables. There are numerous sources of food.
But there is only One source of spiritual food - “every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God."
Jesus is telling us at least 3 things here –
1) Physical food sustains our bodies; therefore spiritual food sustains our spirits. Jesus does not state that part of God’s word will be sufficient for us, but rather, He says that “every word that proceeds” is our nourishment. But we need to hear all that God has said, not only portions –
Ecc 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter. Fear God, and keep His commandments. For this is the whole duty of man.
We must feast upon His whole word in small bites at a time. We cannot digest His whole word in one setting – His spiritual bread is meant to last us a lifetime (in both this life on earth and the next life in eternity). He intends for us to never run out of spiritual food and if we eat His food, we will never go hungry again -
Joh 4:14 “But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
Joh 6:54 Whoever partakes of My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
Joh 6:55 For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed.”
2) We are not complete unless the spiritual man/woman (what makes us born again) is fed. Paul refers to our spirits as the “inner man” -
2 Cor. 9:10 Now He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for eating, may He supply and multiply your seed, and increase the fruits of your righteousness
Eph 3:16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
3) In Matthew 4:4, Jesus uses the word “proceeds” (Gr. – “ekporeuomai” – to discharge, release, or project) in a present and even futuristic tense , which tells us that God is still speaking to mankind through the ministry of His Christ –
Heb 1:1 God, who at many times and in many ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets,
Heb 1:2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds,
Christ becomes the voice of God now and the written word through the prophets are not at all excluded or done away with, but are rather fulfilled to the fullest extent through the Anointed One. “Every word that proceeds…” tells us that God utters (“word” here in Greek is “rhema”, meaning “utterance” or “command”) everything into existence by His Word (Christ). -
Colossians 1:16 For by him (Christ) were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
Colossians 1:17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
We must receive our “daily Bread” (the Bread of life – Joh. 6:33-35, Joh. 6:51) from the Lord Jesus – which brings us to how much we should eat.
I can’t believe I ate the whole thing!
That phrase was from a popular commercial for a product to relieve an upset stomach. In today’s health conscience society, we are told to scale back on how much we eat. Eating everything on your plate is no longer advisable or wise – except when it comes to God’s Word –
Mat 26:26 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.
Mat 26:27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;
The bread, of course represents His body, which was broken and crucified for us. After he was offered up, His mortal body becomes the Body of Christ (the Church) or us as believers (Rom. 7:4, I Cor. 10:16, I Cor. 12:27, Eph. 5:23). The wine is His precious blood that purchased our salvation (I Cor. 10:16, Eph. 2:13, Heb. 9:14)
My point is this – we must take in the entire word of God just as we must accept the whole suffering of Christ and the shedding of His blood for us. We must be willing to accept all that God says as meat for us, and not merely the parts that we like, because –
2 Tim. 3:16 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: “
2Pe 1:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation.
2Pe 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
We all can probably relate to our parents telling us when we were children, “Stop picking over your food” or “eat all your vegetables – they're good for you”.
The same thing applies to digesting God’s Word. We can’t simply eat what we like because it tastes good and spit out the stuff we don’t like because it’s unpleasant –
Pro 1:29 For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD:
Pro 1:30 They would [have]none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof [correction].
Heb 12:6 for whom the Lord loves, He chastens and He scourges every son whom He receives."
Act 20:27 “For I did not keep back from declaring to you all the counsel of God.” *(Please note that the word “all” in this verse is the Greek word “pas” and has several meanings including “the whole”, “whatsoever”, “any”, and “every” – as in everyone. Paul means one of two things, either 1) “all of God’s counsel” or 2) he means “declaring to ‘all’ of you”. William Barclay agrees with 1) – “all of God’s counsel” (or will) – Barclay’s Daily Study Bible.
We must not allow ourselves to fall into the trap of believing or following only portions of the Scriptures based on what appeals to us. Remember – “There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end of it is the ways of death.” (Prov. 16:25)
For example, people who say that they are Christians but believe in Universalism (the belief that everyone will be saved and God won’t allow anyone to be sent to the Lake of Fire and Brimstone), completely ignore verses like - Mar 16:16 “ He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” ,2 Pet. 3:7 “But the present heavens and the earth being kept in store by the same Word, are being kept for fire until the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.” , 2 Pet 2:9 The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptation, and to reserve the unjust for a day of judgment, to be punished, 2 Pet 2:10 and especially those who walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise dominion.”, 1Jn 3:10 In this the children of God are revealed, and the children of the Devil: everyone not practicing righteousness is not of God, also he who does not love his brother.”, and Rev 20:15 And if anyone was not found having been written in the Book of Life, he was cast into the Lake of Fire.”
Ask yourself two questions-
- “Am I receiving and accepting the whole word of God or only the parts that I agree with?” Are you allowing God’s word (what you eat) to change you or are you trying to change God’s word to fit your own ideas? Can you take all of the fat, sugar, and/or carbs out of a piece of chocolate cake and expect it to taste good or to be as satisfying? Can you overcook vegetables with butter and loads of salt or sugar and expect for it to still be “healthy” for you?
2 “Am I trying to line up with God’s word or am I simply trying to make God’s word line up with my thoughts and opinions?” Our opinions carry no weight or merit when it comes to God’s word! His word speaks for Itself and is fulfilled at His leisure (Isaiah 45:23, & Isa. 55:11). Our opinion of it doesn’t change it or hinder it from being fulfilled.
Your opinion can’t change a cherry into an apple. Neither can you remove the sovereignty of God’s word. Just as we must accept a cherry for what it is, so must we accept God’s word for what it says.
You know if you are growing spiritually if you are accepting God’s word even when it forces you to make changes in your thinking and/or actions. That is one definite way to know that you are growing in Christ.