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Spiritual Malnutrition

Spiritual Malnutrition

Today I want to chat with you about spiritual malnutrition. You probably understand at least loosely what malnutrition means in way of your body, what about your spirit?

I want to talk to you about this today because I think it greatly impacts the outreach the church has as well as the satisfaction we have in God and the healthiness we experience as believers.

Okay, so imagine with me for a minute, a 60-year-old person who has only drank baby formula their entire life… just picture that real quick. It’s pretty repulsive, right? Like, when we see babies drinking milk from a bottle we smile and know they are growing and applaud their milestones as they graduate to solid food, grow teeth, begin walking and talking. As they can do more physically their food changes with them, from milk to pureed fruits and veggies to cherrieos and so on and so forth eventually up to steak. If someone where to never make it past milk we would not shrug our shoulders and say, eh, I guess that’s just the way they are. No, we would know something is wrong, that person isn’t healthy.

It’s so much the same with our spiritual lives. When we become Christians, we need “spiritual milk” however, we should grow out of that and graduate to spiritual meat. So, starting out with the spiritual ABC’s, the beginner material like who is God? Who is His Son? Who is the Holy Spirit? Why did Jesus have to die? What does God’s Word say… and so on. Up to bigger things to chew on like imputation, propitiation, election… We can’t start with things like that just like we don’t feed babies steak however, we cannot stay on milk.

I believe this is a huge sickness in our church’s today. People are not moving off spiritual milk so we meet people who have been Christians for 60 years but are spiritually immature, sick, weak and hungry. Your spiritual age does not depend on years, it depends on what you’re feeding your spirit. You can be a 60 year old human that has been a Christian for 50 of those years but if you are still eating baby food you might be a 3 year old Christian still dealing with not sharing your toys instead of preaching the gospel to your neighbors, leading people to Jesus’ feet, living into your God given calling and making disciples.

I believe lack of discipleship is largely to blame for our lack of spiritual growth as the American church. Jesus’ last command was to make disciples (The gospel of Matthew, chapter 28, verses 18 through 20). Within this command He tells His disciples to baptize and to teach those we disciple to observe all the things that Jesus taught His disciples. He says HE will be with them always which is great because He also makes them, and us, aware that all authority has been given to Him. LOL when’s the last time you or I baptized anyone?

So… what is our job? To disciple others, baptize them and teach them to observe Jesus’ teachings. What are we doing? Sitting in pews happy to watch one guy behind a podium do all that while we suck down a bottle of warm lactose once a week and call it good. We are malnourished, weak and ineffective. We are not following Jesus’ last command to us. I think that is why when the world looks in at us they say, I don’t want to be associated with them, their a bunch of babies fighting over the color of the carpet and using all their tithes to keep the lights on in their over-sized building.

We are His disciples correct? Is He not our teacher? So why are we not yielding ourselves to His Spirit?? Why are we not following His teaching?? Someone has to start making disciples for Jesus. Someone has got to start reading the Bible.

I am just going to be real real for a hot minute, I am so sick of meeting people who have been Christians for 40 years longer than I’ve been alive and they have never read the Bible for themselves. They are still happy with spiritual milk. It’s repulsive. How can we not let the Spirit of the living God change us completely?

Not only does this negatively effect the church’s outreach but within its doors you have people who are starving themselves because they are too lazy to walk to the fridge (AKA The Word of God that we all have sitting on a shelf somewhere collecting dust). So instead they go through the drive through, grab some fast food that fills them up quickly but has no real nutrition (AKA social media for our worth and validation, Netflix shows to numb our minds from spiritual discomfort…etc.). Now they are starving and sick on the crap the world has offered them and they’ve eaten because they were not full on the glorious nutrition the Word had to offer them. It’s a downward spiral.

I PROMISE you lady, if we feast on the goodness God offers us, we WILL be filled, satisfied, healthy and so much more. It is more work than fast food, it’s cooking up a big ole steak and some potatoes. It takes longer but it’s what our Spirit’s need and they are going to be sadly underdeveloped if we choose not to indulge.

Paul’s 1st letter to the Corinthians, chapter 3, verses 1 through 11:

 But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not being merely human?

What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.

10 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. 11 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

 

All authority has been given to Jesus, so we are foolish not to build upon Him. Nothing else is going to work except for Him and His Word. So why are we still trying other things?

If I were to write a spiritual meal plan for us today it would be straight Bible because that’s the nutrition. We can read as many people’s interpretations of the Bible as we want to but until we sit down with God’s Word and ask Him to teach us, we just aren’t going to be spiritually fed. I love reading Francis Chan and listening to Matt Chandler but it’s not the same. I do not achieve intimacy with God until I actually hangout with Him, no chauffeur needed.  What are we afraid of? Growth? Work? We were made for these things. And there is a loving God who wants to hold our hand as we go through them.

 

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