I often ask myself, am I feeding myself with healthy mental nourishment, or more so a self-gratifying, poison-ridden diet of worldliness? I also realize, however that this unhealthy mixture is not just my diet, it is the diet of most of my fellow church-goers, and the majority of the big “C” Church, especially in the affluent nations of the world… like the USA, like the greater Carson City area, maybe like you.
We partake of and ingest a steady “diet” of toxins. In Ephesians chapters 4 and 5, the Apostle Paul declares a long (but not exhaustive) list of unrighteous and/or unclean behaviors of which the believer should be aware and from which they should turn away. Instead, Paul commands that we “Walk as children of light” (Eph. 5:8). And to that end, Paul warns, “Let no one deceive you with any empty words” (Eph. 5:5).
Ask yourselves, what would our world like today if brave men and women and nations had sustained an attitude of apathy toward the advances of fascism in the 1930s and ‘40s? As it were, “good people” from all corners of the world immersed themselves and committed their very lives to the ideals of common decency and sacrifice.
As expressed by the likes of Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt, not accepting the easy path of apathy was the norm. Souls were nourished and motivated to great deeds by virtue of the likes of Roosevelt’s fireside chats, Churchill’s speeches and one-liners, and the Allied radio broadcasts. All of this “nourishment” and a broader spectrum of encouragement resulted in fascism being defeated on two fronts.
We make dozens, if not hundreds, of choices each day that can be symptomatic of apathy, or of nourishment and good works. The key word here is “choices.” Choices begin in our mind and more often than not bear from our heart. Apathy can gain a foothold in our lives based on bad mindsets such as fear, anxiety, self-isolation, confusion or misunderstanding, depression, self-fulfillment or self-centeredness, and on and on.
On the other hand, Christ-centered nourishment can be found in such habitual behaviors (good works) as the gathering of believers, prayer, scripture study, submission and obedience, Godly music, service, discipleship, fellowship, devotions, worship of the one true God, etc.
Such “good works” can only stem from a profound and continual relationship with Christ. I have found (and millions of other Christians have too) that my little steps of turning away from the unrighteous and unclean behaviors and drawing closer to Christ, by making a concerted effort to turn toward nourishing my soul with God’s grace and certainly results in his blessings, like bearing greater spiritual fruitfulness and even practical, “little” victories.
Focusing on him naturally draws us closer to those things which reflect his grace and glory which in turn influences our own beliefs and behaviors to do the same.
Apostle Paul instructs his protege Timothy to “be nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine…” (1 Tim. 4:6). Our God (Yahweh) is a great God, the only true God, the creator of all things, and the creator of me and you.
Do we not owe him our responsiveness in place of our apathy? Do we not owe him our surrender and obedience during what remains of our short lives here on this earth? Should we not seek to nourish ourselves on the ideals that God himself has shared, and continues to share, so readily through his son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit? We should! And I pray that we will. EAT UP!
Roy Slate is pastor at the Prodigal Church.