In our last post called ★ “Back to the Basics” – Pursuit #2 – What Are You Feeding On? ★, we discussed the importance of reading the bible if we want to grow in our walk with God. And that what you feed your mind is what you will become. My daughter reminded me of the movie we saw a year ago called “Tomorrowland” (which was really awesome and is on Redbox now.) In the movie they had a quote about an Old Cherokee Proverb that within everyone is two wolves fighting a battle…I looked up the background and thought it was a great illustration of what we all face…
“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.
“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.
One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.”
He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.
The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
WHICH WOLF ARE YOU FEEDING?
I love that answer to the question “Which wolf will win?”…“The one you feed.” There is such truth in that statement that if we could grasp it today, our lives could be forever changed! In the Bible, Romans 8:5-6 (NLT) supports this truth:
“Those who are dominated by the sinful nature [or ‘flesh’ as other Bible translations call it,] think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature [flesh] control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.”
We always have a choice about what we will feed, our flesh or our spirit…Today I would like springboard off of our last post and speak to those who have been walking with God and reading the Bible to pose the question, are you a parasite? Strange question huh? When you hear the word parasite a few nasty examples come to my mind like tapeworms, fleas, and barnacles. I read somewhere that Tapeworms attach themselves to the insides of the intestines of animals such as cows, pigs, and humans. They get food by eating the host’s partly digested food, depriving the host of nutrients. Gross huh? Vocabulary.com had this definition for what a PARASITE is:
“A creature that lives off another organism is a parasite. The parasite might not hurt the host, but it doesn’t do anything to help it, either.”
Can you think of an example of a creature that feeds off of another but doesn’t hurt the host? I will give you a hint…you may have some living in your home…babies of course! But we hardly would consider them a parasite right…right? Hahaha! There is nothing more beautiful than a nursing baby. After all it was God’s design that a woman’s body would transform to be able to provide nourishment for her child BUT as the baby gets older, it is time to transition to solid food.
The question…Are You a Parasite? Was intended to get your attention but maybe a less graphic way to start the dialogue would be to say, are you doing anything with what you are reading in the Bible or are you in a perpetual feeding mode? I heard a quote from a country preacher named Vance Havner who said:
When I first heard of this quote I thought of it in comparison to 1 Timothy 4:12 about not letting anyone “think less of you because you are young.” But recently I have thought it more along the lines of not believing you’re mature just because of how long you’ve been calling yourself a Christian. Do you consider yourself mature? Or should I say are you continuing to mature in your faith? I an article from Albert Mohler he quoted researchers George Gallup and Jim Castelli who said:
“Americans revere the Bible–but, by and large, they don’t read it. And because they don’t read it, they have become a nation of biblical illiterates.” How bad is it? Researchers tell us that it’s worse than most could imagine.
According to data from the Barna Research Group, 60 percent of Americans can’t name even five of the Ten Commandments. “No wonder people break the Ten Commandments all the time. They don’t know what they are,” said George Barna, president of the firm. The bottom line? “Increasingly, America is biblically illiterate.”
And from another article I saw these statistics…
What a sad reality! Would you consider yourself illiterate when it comes to your knowledge of the Bible? Just like you cannot become mature just by the number of years you are a Christian, just owning a Bible is not enough, we need to read and know it! This lack of maturity is not a new phenomenon. In approximately 55 AD, the Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 3:1-3 to encourage the Corinthian Church to grow in their faith. They were not ready for the deeper truths that he wanted to share with them…In verse 2, Paul said:
“I had to feed you with milk, not with solid food, because you weren’t ready for anything stronger. And you still aren’t ready,”
For the purpose of this Thought for the Day, I am going to assume that we are all “within the 37% who read the Bible more than once a week” that the Barna Research Group found. And with that baseline, I want to challenge you to look within and ask yourself…Does that 1 Corinthians 3:2 statement describe you? Have you been on the path for decades, reading God’s Word, going to church, attending Bible Studies and yet you still are not ready to move on to solid food? Hebrews 5:12 (NLT) gives this stark wake up call!
Convicting huh? It was definitely true of me! I accepted Jesus as my savior in August of 1998 and though I would describe myself as “being on fire for God,” my development was far from that. I attended church yes but did not read the Bible. It was not until 12 years later that one conversation with Todd McIntyre, the Men’s Pastor at Gateway Church changed everything! In the post called ★ Back to the Basics – Silencing the Noise ★, I shared how he helped me see the need to reconcile my relationship with my estranged father and also opened my eyes to the need to develop the spiritual discipline of reading the bible daily which has paid dividends! I have grown more in the last six years then I did in the preceding 12! It is interesting to think how one conversation changed the whole trajectory of my life! But that would not have happened unless I actually listened to Pastor Todd’s counsel and put it into practice! James 1:22-25 (NLT) says:
“But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.”
In our Wednesday night Lifegroup, we have been going through a Bible Study by Francis Chan on RightNowMedia from the Book of James. In the third lesson (which was based on James 1:19-27,) Francis Chan nailed it as he pounds on the truth of this passage…He said,
“Satan is thrilled when believers pack out churches to hear the Word of God and then they walk away and do nothing and yet feel like they’ve accomplished something. Their deceiving [themselves], they’re doing Satan’s job for Him!”
Amen? We need to be DOERS of the Word not just HEARERS. Too often that people say “I am not being fed,” so they move on to another church, never realizing that maybe it has nothing to with the Pastor or the church but with them. You cannot grow without putting in the work yourself. Being a parasite can also be by living your life only on the basis of someone else’s faith. Maybe it’s someone who brought you to Christ in the first place, like a parent who dragged you to church every Sunday, or a friend who made you feel obligated to accept Christ. You never really developed a personal relationship with Christ but rather you are going with the flow of someone else’s faith.
So then how do we go from MILK to MEAT, and mature as a believer? I am glad you asked…Stop being a parasite. Stop leeching onto others for your growth. Stop depending on others or the Pastor/Church for your spiritual development. You have to take responsibility for your own development. Just like you cannot survive on one meal a week, you cannot depend on 1 hour on a Sunday morning to be the only source of nourishment that you give your Spirit! It must happen daily. If you don’t apply the knowledge that you hear than you will never grow and you will remain stagnant. I say this all the time but it’s so true…Nothing changes if nothing changes! Today decide to…Feed Yourself!