Part III: Diet Plan

Click here for part 1.

Click here for part 2.

I began this series with a warning against spiritual junk food. In part 2, I outlined the importance of staying spiritually hungry.

Now we’re going to make our diet plan.

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First of all, I’m guessing that if you’re reading this, you physically eat more than once a week. You probably would not be able to survive if you only had one meal, one day a week.

Likewise, how can we expect to be spiritually sustained by one or two hours one day a week? If spending time in the Word and His presence, and having worship and fellowship, is so important, why do we allow ourselves to bank on one or two church services a week, call it good, and wonder why we’re miserable by Monday?

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Pastor Steven Furtick demonstrates the importance of “eating before you come.” When it comes to church, he says that he has been approached by members of the congregation who say they have not been spoken to, or “fed,” by the message he gave. His response is, “You should’ve eaten before you came.”

What he means is that church is not supposed to be the Thanksgiving dinner for which we starve ourselves the entire week before because we know it’s coming. Church is a doctor’s checkup. It’s a little supplemental booster. It’s your meeting with your personal trainer to scrutinize and reassess your nutritional plan.

Church can only function the way it’s supposed to if you’re taking care of yourself throughout the week.

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Imagine your spiritual life as compared to your nutritional life. If we went to church, prayed, read our Bibles, worshiped, or just spent time seeking His presence—as much as we spent time putting food in our mouths, I guarantee we would not feel “dry” throughout the week.

Variety is the spice of life.

I think a lot of Christians are either afraid of falling into routine or have already fallen into one that lessens the impact of a life centered around Christ, but look at it this way: If we focused on our spiritual nourishment as much as our physical hunger, we probably wouldn’t enter into that religious routine of doing the same thing over and over again, day by day. Sure, little habits may be the same—I still eat at appointed times and whenever I’m hungry, but there’s variety in my diet.

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We don’t make a habit out of eating the exact same thing for every meal, every day.  The likelihood that we would get the proper nutritional value we need for our daily function by eating a bowl of cereal three times a day, every day, is slim to none.

Even more so, who would enjoy a diet of the same milk and cereal every meal, every day? It would get really old, really fast.

Not so cheerio.

I know if it were me, I would probably start picking at my food by morning of the second day, and by that evening I would seriously consider just not eating. I would start viewing the cereal and milk with disgust and disdain.

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Growing up, we had the exact same rehearsed prayer that we would pray to “bless this food for the nourishment and strengthening of our bodies, and blessed the hands that prepared it, amen.” I think my stepdad learned it from his dad growing up and was never taught that he could divert from the formula and seize the opportunity to actually meet with God.

But after days, months, and years of praying this routine prayer for performance purposes only, the entire act of prayer became something I dreaded and avoided. I hated when it was my night to pray over our food, because I didn’t want to get any of the nuances wrong, or forget or jumble any of the important words in the daily script.

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Ecclesiastes 3:1 – For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.

There is a time and a place for routine and repetition. But the only time in our lives when we do have the same food every single day is when we are infants, when we ingest breastmilk or formula. Formula is a good thing in its appointed place and time, but it won’t do anything for you if taken out of its timing.

For example, it would be inappropriate for me, at 19, to eat baby formula—in fact, the idea of it is nauseating. But to a 3-month-old, formula may be all that baby can ingest because his digestive organs aren’t mature enough to break down solid foods—and neither is his soft, gummy mouth.

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Ephesians 2:5 – …That even though we were dead because of our sins, He gave us life when He raised Christ from the dead.

When we receive Jesus into our hearts and claim Him as Lord and Savior, we are born again. We have gone from being spiritually dead to being spiritual babies.

As babies who are developing brand new systems of ingestion and digestion, it is appropriate and essential for us to intake as much formula food as possible. It’s okay to rest on fellowship, church services, and being fed by other people.

As a new believer, it’s good to create routines, at first, just to introduce the critical elements of prayer, worship, and discovering the Word. Just like babies have regular feeding times (and frequently), they as well as we need that regularity to grow rapidly.

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Constant doctors’ checkups are recommended for babies to monitor their growth and progress—likewise, many churches make it an aim to not only add more believers to the tally, but to get them plugged into discipleship groups. We surround new believers with as many resources as possible. This is not only to keep them in the church, but to fight off the almost instantaneous discouragement and confusion the enemy brings through the world to attack our newfound salvation. The goal is to empower.

1 Corinthians 3:1-3 – Dear brothers and sisters, when I was with you I couldn’t talk to you as I would to mature Christians.I had to talk as though you belonged to this world or as though you were infants in the Christian life.

I had to feed you with milk and not with solid food, because you couldn’t handle anything stronger. And you still aren’t ready, for you are still controlled by your own sinful desires. You are jealous of one another and quarrel with each other.

Doesn’t that prove you are controlled by your own desires? You are acting like people who don’t belong to the Lord.
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For every infant, and for every new believer, there comes a time where weaning must happen. We must introduce solid foods into our spiritual diets, learn to chew and digest on our own so we in turn may start feeding others.

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