Faith Matters: Our love affair with spritual junk food
July 24, 2008
There was a time not too long ago when the American public began to trade in the healthful, home-cooked meals mom prepared at home, for the quick and easy, instant meals that became known as “fast food.”
Instead of children starting out the day with oatmeal or cream of wheat, they had a bowl of sugarcoated, chocolate wheat bombs. Then, there was the mid-morning snack of a “Twinkie,” followed at noon by a burger with fries or pizza, along with a soda. The day ended with dinner out of a foil, compartmentalized plate called a “TV Dinner.”
We have now come to the realization that many fast foods not only lack the necessary
nutrients for healthy bodies, but they actually rob us of rich nutritional ingredients that are essential for our long-term health.
Interestingly enough, it appears that we have embarked on yet another love affair with junk food – only this time it’s Spiritual junk food. Unfortunately, much of American Christianity promotes feeling and esoteric experience over a historic and authentic Christian faith that is based squarely upon the Word of God. If the only reason a person comes to church is to be entertained and to feel good, they will never develop a strong, deep, root system that will sustain them when adversity strikes.
As a result, when church members find themselves going through a tough, growing experience, the tendency is to pack up and move on instead of staying put and growing through that experience the way the Lord would want them to. It’s just easier to move on to the next “fast-food restaurant” for another meal or two with folks who don’t really know enough about them to hold them accountable – at least for a while.
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A new approach, a new flavor, a new spiritual high can help ease Spiritual hunger for a while, but as Greg Albrecht said a couple of years ago, “We should not be deceived into thinking that the manipulation of our heart and emotions is the same as surrendering to God and giving our heart to the Lord Jesus.”
As a pastor, I constantly work on trying to maintain the balance between “grace” and “truth” in relationships within our church family and those in the community at large.
We are instructed in II Peter 3:18 to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ,” and my desire is always to be compassionate and understanding within that framework.
At the same time, we will never grow unless we are willing to be honest with ourselves, honest with each other, and honest with God. It’s the meat and potatoes of our Christian walk.
Those who continue to come to the family dinner table on a regular basis will find healthy nutrition and family support that is essential for steady personal and spiritual growth.
People all around us are desperately looking for reality and substance rather than flashy religion. It is our privilege is to build meaningful relationships with them by being real in our walk and bringing them home to dinner from time to time. Our Heavenly Father is a great cook, and has plenty of solid advice for whatever the current issues are. Oh, by the way, please pass the salt.