Starving Christians – February 20th, 2019

Spiritual atrophy sits in…

As you survey the body of Christ today, you’ll see sparks here and there that are shining as that candle in the darkness that illuminates all around them. A frightening majority of Christians do not shine the light of Christ.

“You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand, and it gives light for all who are in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”

Matthew 5:14-16 (CSB)

But why?

There is a cause and effect that takes place when we deprive ourselves on the nourishment we need. Ocean-going sailors were plagued with scurvy, because of the lack of vitamin C in their diet. The typical diet on the wooden sailing ships that traversed the oceans, was restricted by a lack of resources. Often what supplies were on board were lost because of spoilage.

Christians don’t have an excuse

When the ship Paul was on was threatened with destruction because of the storms engulfing it. The people on board had not eaten anything for 14 days. Paul admonished them to eat, to maintain their strength.

So I urge you to take some food. For this is for your survival, since none of you will lose a hair from your head.

Acts 27:34 (CSB)

In the same way, no matter what the storms around us we have no excuse not to feed on the Word of God constantly to maintain our strength and prevent atrophy of our spiritual bodies.

Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.

Psalms 119:105 (CSB)

If the Word is present in our lives, that light will be present in our lives. The more we feed that lamp the more light that is generated and the more people around us are illuminated by that light.

It doesn’t serve our objectives to supplement the Word with our own thoughts and ideas.

Every word of God is pure; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Don’t add to his words, or he will rebuke you, and you will be proved a liar.

Proverbs 30:5-6 (CSB)

The word is complete and fully able to provide all we need to perform the role that God has planned for us.

All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (CSB)

But yet, millions of well-meaning Christians are starving spiritually.

We have been lulled into a state of apathy in our walk with the Lord. We don’t require “a lamp for my feet and a light on my path”, because we have stopped walking along the path the Lord has placed us on. Apathy has set in and quickly after we stop feeding on the Word and exercising our muscles in obedience, our spiritual bodies suffer atrophy.  Our lights dim and we become more and more like the darkness around us.

Is it any wonder that most Christians today are almost indistinguishable from their friends and neighbors?

Be diligent to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who doesn’t need to be ashamed, correctly teaching the word of truth.

2 Timothy 2:15 (CSB)

There can be no teaching of the Word of Truth, without the study of that Word. The concept we might propagate the Good News to a lost world without immersion in the Word is beyond flawed. It is nothing less than a lie we would tell ourselves.

The folly of this is pointed out in the very next verse.

Avoid irreverent and empty speech, since those who engage in it will produce even more godlessness, and their teaching will spread like gangrene.

2 Timothy 2:16-17a (CSB)

Empty speech, not even necessarily bad speech, is detrimental to our witness and the light we are intended to carry in us.

This doesn’t mean that we should only talk about spiritual things but every meaningless conversation we engage in fosters godlessness and will spread like gangrene.

Those distractions we may think are hip and cool to be a part of, the intellectual pursuits that have no purpose, the mindless activity we use to ‘kill time’; are damaging to our effectiveness in our discipleship in Jesus.  The more engaged we are with others in these senseless pursuits the less obvious we appear to the lost and the more we appear to be the same as them.

Jesus said, people will know we are His disciples because of the love that flows through us. Anything that dilutes the radiance that comes from a life bonded strongly to the Savior’s grace, weakens the distinction of our new life has when contrasted to the dying world.

We cannot afford to appear like the world. The excuse that ‘we don’t have time’, melt away when these senseless pursuits are laid to rest. If we desire to kill time and we say we don’t have time to study the word, we lie to ourselves.

The importance of getting in the Word can’t be understated. While I am focusing on our senseless pursuits for the moment, this is only one of many possible things that infringe on our time with the Lord in His Word. This is one I can be certain that all of us do.

If we don’t know how to get into the Word, there are ways to do that which remove planning and choosing just what section and verses we read and contemplate.

The following example I am giving here are only the ones that came immediately to mind. It shouldn’t be taken as an endorsement of this one resource over all others. Numerous other guides exist today and if you require something to propel you through the scripture, most any of them will be beneficial.

Bible.com always has a good selection of reading plans you can get into scripture with easily. Some of these plans will have commentary interjected in with the scripture being read to foster a greater understanding of the scripture being read. Check out their reading plans here.

Devotionals are another good way to begin your adventure in the Word. Guidepost and Our Daily Bread are good free devotional guides. They both solicit donations for their ministries but regardless of your resources you can get a steady stream of short articles imbued with God’s Word. There are also devotional books that contain daily explorations of God’s Word.

There are numerous online blogs that provide both periodic and daily exposure to God’s Word. Selah Musings where this article comes from is such a daily devotional blog.

The thing I would caution you about devotionals is being satisfied that one devotional is enough. Why most devotionals will expose you to the Word to some extent there is a need to go further than whatever the daily entry provides. While the devotional in question might be spot on for you, it may not. God has something in His Word for us every day. We should not rest until we feel fed by the Word as we absorb it. 

Don’t deprive your spiritual life of the nourishment it is hungry for. There is nothing as unremarkable as “Starving Christians”. Let your light shine.

In His Grace,
Kip…

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